Our coach Lizzy, is an expert in holistic health and has put together her top tips for improving your sleep.
Sleep is perhaps one of the most important yet under- appreciated factors that contributes to optimal health. This is the time when the physical and the psychological systems go into repair mode. Our stress hormone, cortisol, is reduced, and we get a surge in anabolic growth hormones like testosterone.
The natural sleep/wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is something we share with most living creatures. A modern, fast-paced lifestyle though can severely disrupt this. Shift work, late working hours and screens or backlit displays such as tablets and smartphones can really impact our sleep. When you are exposed to a bright light such as your phone in the middle of the night, your body registers a light source in a similar way to a sunrise. The result, a premature spike in cortisol levels as your body prepares to wake up. This negatively affects the repair cycle and can have a detrimental effects on our overall health.
Reduce your caffeine intake.
Particularly after midday. If you struggle to sleep or have pre-exisiting anxiety, depression or hormonal imbalances, consider removing caffeine completely.
Get to sleep by 10:30pm.
This usually means in bed by around 10pm. If this is difficult for you, try setting yourself a sleep alarm to alert you to when it’s time to start getting ready for bed.
Use blackout curtains.
Minimising environmental light pollution (particularly if you live in a densely populated area) can really improve your sleep.
Limit screens after dark.
Do not expose yourself to bright TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones after dark. This is really under-appreciated, and can have a huge impact on your sleep and health.
Exercise will help promote blood-flow and help sleep. However for some, high intensity exercise and interval training can in fact impair your sleep. limit your harder sessions to earlier in the day and stick to gentle activities like walking and yoga in the afternoon and evening.