Sleep is essential. In many ways it is more essential than the actual training, if you want to succeed and not burn yourself out. But do your sleep rituals hep you sleep better?
It’s winter here in New Zealand, so SAD is a real factor, specially when there are so many more rural dwellings, with no street lights, and daylight from only 8:15am till 5:30pm. I think I might get my Lumie lamp out. I have gotten out of the habit of using it actually.
But what else can you do to help you sleep better?
Don’t engage in exercise late at night. You will not be able to sleep, with an elevated heart rate from late night training!
Don’t drink things containing stimulants. A late night cup of tea or coffee is a regular habit for many, but you would be better switching your drink out for a fruit or herbal tea.
Make sure your room is dark. Black out blinds, specially in summer, will help to ensure your sleep patterns aren’t interrupted. I have some in my house, inherited ones. They’re fabulous. I no longer wake prematurely when it’s light earlier in the morning.
Grab a notebook and write down everything that’s leftover in your mind – essentially, clear your thoughts in preparation for sleep. I personally find that physical pen and paper works better than typing into a computer or tablet. The backlight will simply keep you awake rather than relax.
Eating something light (like fruits and nuts and yoghurt) seems to help with energy levels in the morning.
A hot (or cold) bath as one of your last activities during the day helps calm you down and puts you in the right frame of mind for relaxing and sleeping.
Remember when you were a kid and you used to read or have someone read to you before going to sleep? It’s little wonder that children tend to sleep really well. Nothing disconnects you better than going off to the fictional world of your choice and leaving all the thoughts, ideas, worries and responsibilities of the real world behind. 15-30 minutes should be more than enough.