Sleep & Stress
How To Improve Your Sleep Quality
Ajay Singh Tomar
How to Improve Your Sleep Quality In my previous article, i had covered about How poor sleep is affecting your performance and progress. Please go through it here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/squatsjc/permalink/2884662658259694/ So once we understand how important sleep can be in our overall health, performance, body composition and how it relates to our progress when we are trying to lose weight, gain some muscle, perform better etc. Now lets see How we can improve our sleep quality and habits. Recently Vitale et el did a review on "Sleep Hygiene for Optimizing Recovery in Athletes: Review and Recommendations", Aug-2019. Although the focus is more on athletic health, performance and recovery. It provides some good practical recommendations which we can implement to improve our sleep habits and quality. Here are some of the main recommendations: 1. Don’t go to bed until you are sleepy. If you aren’t sleepy, get out of bed and do something else until you become sleepy. 2. Regular bedtime routines/rituals help you relax and prepare your body for bed (reading, warm bath, etc.). 3. Try to get up at the same time every morning (including weekends and holidays). 4. Try to get a full night’s sleep every night, and avoid naps during day if possible (if you must nap, limit to 1 h and avoid nap after 3 p.m.). 5. Avoid caffeine if possible (if must use caffeine, avoid after lunch). 6. Avoid alcohol if possible (if must use alcohol, avoid right before bed). 7. Consider avoiding high-intensity exercise right before bed (extremely intense exercise may raise cortisol, which impairs sleep). 8. Make sure bedroom is quiet, as dark as possible, and a little on the cool side rather than warm (similar to a cave). 9. Avoid blue light emitted from screens at least 2 hrs before bed (smartphones, laptop, monitors). Blue light suppresses melatonin production that is needed to induce sleep. Avoid text messaging, social media, games, app use. 10. If you must use your computer at night, consider installing color-adjusting and blue-light reducing software or wear blue-light blocking glasses. 11. Get bright, natural light (the sun) upon awakening (the sun is ideal, but some suggest at least a 10,000 lux lamp if artificial) 12. Higher carbohydrate (namely high glycemic index foods) at night may improve sleep, as well as high protein including tryptophan. High fat intake at night may disrupt sleep. Inadequate total caloric intake during the day may impair sleep at night. 13. Consider reducing your fluid intake before bed so you don’t get up to go to the bathroom (only if you maintain enough hydration during the day). 14. Check your mattress – it may be too old (mattresses typically last a maximum of 9–10 years) and may have allergens. 15. Recovery from exercise should not only focus on muscle recovery. Reducing mental fatigue is just as important for healthy sleep. Reduce external stressors in your life. # One thing to note here is that although such recommendations will help most of us. There will always be some who will still face issues in getting proper sleep. In such cases, Please always consult/take help from a Medical Professional. Cheers References : 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31288293?__s=jmazz4tjkyp833tcpsor 2. Weekend Research RoundUp (Greg Nuckols, Dr. Eric Trexler).