Sleep is key. It’s key for our health and a very important part of our fitness results as well as it’s mainly during sleep that our body recovers and builds muscle.

It is said that you should get 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day (depending on people and metabolism), but it’s often not so easy. Life, stress, work, baby, poor planning… come in the way. So here are 8 tips to help!

 

1. If you snooze, you loose

It may not necessarily sound intuitive, but getting a good sleep at night starts with what you do in the morning and during the day so let’s start by the beginning…

When it’s time for you to wake up in the morning, do it. Don’t snooze. Wake up and get moving right away. It will speed the waking process and help you take a good start.

 

2. Let the sun shine in!

Get as much natural vitamin D (daylight and sun) as you can during the day! This helps regulate your melatonin, which is key for your body to naturally know when it’s time to switch off in the evening.

 

3. Keep an eye on your caffeine and alcohol

Even if you think you’re totally ok with a late coffee, any caffeine you consume after 2 pm and more than 1-2 drinks in the evening can have a tremendous effect on the quality of your sleep.

 

4. Exercise, but wisely

Regular exercise helps you sleep better… as long as it’s nothing too intense close to bedtime (hello post-workout burst of energy). So aim to finish any vigorous exercise 3 to 4 hours before hitting the sack. Even if it’s a day on which you’re not properly training, maintain some light/gentle exercise though (walk, yoga, tai chi etc.).

 

5. Switch off electronic devices an hour before bedtime 

You’ve heard that before for sure, but why? Because the blue wavelength light from phones, tablets, computers etc. increases your cortisol level – making you more alert – and inhibits the production of melatonin – needed to fall asleep. This hour off will be just enough time to regulate that.

 

6. Create a calming bedtime routine to relax and clear your mind

It could be preparing your stuff for the following day or using your favorite hand cream for a little self-massage (in which case you’d favor calming scents like lavender or jasmine) for example. Up to you to find yours but things like meditation, reading, journaling can also help.

 

7. Make your bedroom you sleep sanctuary 

Are your mattress and pillows comfortable and supportive? Is the room cool and quiet enough? The answers should be yes. But you can also make the room attractive and inviting for sleep, free of dust and allergens that might affect you. Declutter it to make it a zen place and keep your bed for 2 things only: sleep and sex.

 

8. Find out how long is the best for you

Play around between those 7 and 9 hours mentioned earlier. You may find that the best for you is 8.5 for example. Just try it out, having a similar day after and see. 30 minutes can sometimes make a big difference.

 

So now… Practice time!

 

Sources: National Sleep Foundation studies and website, “The power of sleep” article by Precision Nutrition, Health Line’s “Components of a healthy sleep”.