It may come across as a surprise, but diligently clocking in your workout hours isn’t the only factor that matters in improving your fitness. There’s another consideration that many tend to overlook, and it’s none other than... sleep! That’s right – getting enough good quality sleep couldn’t be more important when it comes to achieving your fitness goals, so here’s how you can maximise your nightly trips to snoozeville!
1. Say “yes” to morning workouts
Getting up early to exercise may sound like an absolute chore, but research has shown that morning workouts do improve your quality of sleep. While you may be tempted to stick to evening workouts that you won’t have to drag yourself out of bed any earlier than you need to, remember that morning workouts get you more sunlight which regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, allowing you to get better sleep at night!
2. Have a warm shower before bed
Your body’s internal clock recognises that it’s bedtime as your core body temperature cools down, even slightly. This is why having a warm shower before bed and then lying down in a cooler room will get you feeling sleepy and ready to nod off. It's all about creating that contrast to relax your body so if it's a hot night, take a cool shower instead!
3. Turn off your digital devices
The blue light from your digital devices can make it much harder to fall asleep because this type of light upsets your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you feel sleepy. Power down your devices at least half an hour before bedtime so the pesky blue light doesn’t keep you awake longer than it should!
4. Keep your room dark
A dark room is the most conducive environment for sleep, so keeping your room as dark as possible will help you sleep much better. Keep light out of your room by turning off all screens, lowering the blinds and eliminating all sources of light. For an added bonus, invest in a white noise generator or put on a low-volume playlist of your favourite ambient sounds.
5. Consider sleep supplements
If you suffer from chronic insomnia and have difficulty falling asleep most nights, sleep supplements could be the answer to your sleeping woes. Melatonin supplements are the most obvious option, but other supplements such as 5-HTP and L-tryptophan also contain melatonin and can help you sleep better. You can also experiment with certain food to help optimise your sleep quality, such as tart cherry juice due to its natural melatonin content.
Powering through your workouts would be impossible if you aren’t getting enough sack time. The restorative effects of rest only come when you're consistent in achieving quality sleep, so don't skimp on these tips if you're serious about making the most of your health!