Sleep Hacks: Strategies For a Better Night’s Sleep | H4 Training

Jul04Sleep Hacks: Strategies For a Better Night’s Sleep

Sleep is a crucial part of recovery. It regulates important hormones, improves the immune system, and repairs broken down muscle fibers, and is a healing process in general. Not getting enough sleep is associated with weight gain, stress, and higher chance of disease.

So why do so many of us get crappy sleep? Well, it’s a multi-faceted issue. Some reasons might be:

  • poor work/life balance
  • too many nightly distractions
  • poor nighttime sleep routine habits
  • too much caffeine
  • racing thoughts

The list could go on. Most of the time though it’s from one’s own habits surrounding sleep, rarely is it a medical issue (if it is, it might be best to consult a doctor).

If you suffer from poor sleep habits, you’re in luck! We’ll give you a rundown of the best sleep habits to have to set you up for a proper night sleep – and a good sleep session can be life-changing.

#1 Look at Your Nightly Routine

The first thing to do is look at your nightly routine. When people complain of poor sleep, it’s usually because they make poor choices the last couple of hours before bed.

What you don’t realize is that you should be setting up to promote a stress free, sleep-promoting environment. Read on for tips on how to do this.

#2 Turn Off TV/Phone 2 Hours Before Bed

Eliminate distractions before bed. This includes phones, TVs, computers, tablets, etc. Pretty much anything with a screen can interrupt with sleep.

Why does this happen? Well, your body produces something called melatonin. It’s a naturally occurring hormone that makes you feel tired at night as the sun goes down. When we look at the blue light of screens it can interfere with the release of melatonin, as our body thinks there is still daylight out.

If you can’t or don’t want to eliminate screens at night (as sometimes we like to chill out on our phones in bed, right?) then you can apply a blue light filter to many device screens. Simply download a blue light filter and set it to turn on at a certain time, unless your device already comes equipped with one.

#3 Journal/Stretch/Read/Meditate

The next thing to do is to find a relaxing activity to do before bed. This allows you to wind down, get you destressed and unloaded before bed.

There are plenty of activities to do, you just have to find the one that works for you, or you can do all of them if you’d like.

You could journal to reflect on your day, stretch, read a good book, or just meditate. Any and all of these are good choices but pick the one that gets you relaxed.

#4 No Caffeine past Midday/Limit Caffeine

Caffeine is a natural stimulant. While having a regular cup of coffee is fine, try to limit caffeine intake to only morning times. Taking caffeine in the afternoon or evening may make it harder to fall asleep.

#6 Try a Natural Sleep Supplement (melatonin, sleepy tea)

If truly needed, a sleep supplement can help. There are natural products that can enhance a good night’s sleep like L-theanine, valerian root, and lavender. You could also try a low-dose melatonin supplement (note: we aren’t recommending taking any supplements, just to look into them. Consult with your doctor before taking anything). There are also herbal “sleepy” teas that are caffeine-free and can help relax you before bed.

#7 If Needed, Take a Nap During the Day

One last thing you can do if sleep is really crappy at night is getting a simple nap in during the day. Napping won’t necessarily make up for lost sleep, but if you’re tired from a sleepless night then a 20- or 30-minute nap during the day can refresh you for the remaining part of the day.