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  • Writer's pictureDylan

Sleep is your superpower!

When was the last time you had a good night of sleep? How did you feel that day? Were you productive, in a good mood, energetic? Imagine if you could feel like that every day! Training yourself to be a better sleeper takes effort and consistency just like anything else. If you consider yourself a bad sleeper, try adopting some of these suggestions, I guarantee you will see improvement. Have a consistent bedtime. Improving sleep is about creating habits and being consistent with them. When it’s bedtime you want to be relaxed, and ready to fall asleep. Your body and mind must be trained to wind down a certain time each night. So, pick a realistic bedtime and waking time and be consistent with it for at least 2 weeks. Make your bedroom a sleeping oasis. We want the bedroom to be dark and quiet. More importantly we want the mind to associate the bedroom with sleep and serenity only. So, that means only sleeping in your room, TV, cellphone, and even reading should be done in another room. Through good habits, you will begin to feel restful once you step into your bedroom. NO caffeine, alcohol, or LARGE meals before bed. Caffeine plays a clear role in sleep, there’s been hundreds of studies that show it. If you’re a caffeine drinker, it’s best to cut it off after your morning coffee. Drinking alcohol, especially in higher quantities, is disruptive to sleeping patterns. “Alcohol has a profound impact on sleep. While alcohol is initially sedating, this effect disappears after a few hours, resulting in a fragmented and disturbed sleep in the second half of the night.” (Colrain et al., n.d.) Large meals up to 3 hours before bed can affect your ability to fall asleep. “Heart rate is going to be highly tied to switching you from sympathetic to parasympathetic. You can’t digest in a sympathetic state. If your heart rate is elevated, you’re more alert and you’re going to have a harder time getting into a truly restful state.” (Galpin, 2023) Use caution with sleep supplements. Most over the counter sleep supplements aren’t approved by the FDA. So, you don’t really know what you’re taking. The most popular supplement, Melatonin has shown in some cases to be helpful in falling asleep but can also come with some side effects such as drowsiness, headaches, and daytime sleepiness. The long-term effects of taking sleep supplements are unknown. So, it’s best to avoid these and stick with building healthy habits. (Melatonin: What You Need to Know, n.d.) Sleep better to exercise more. Not only does sleep improve your performance during exercise, but good sleepers also tend to be more active than those with poor sleep patterns. A bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep has long been assumed. Until recently, though, evidence to support the claim that poor sleep led to less exercise was limited to investigations that focused on group differences in physical activity between adults with and without significant sleep disturbances. These studies found, in general, that adults with poor sleep were less active than similar adults without sleep complaints.” (Kline, n.d.) I recommend following the CDC guidelines for exercise. “Each week adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and 2 days of muscle strengthening activity.” (CDC, 2023) This means over 2 hours of walking, jogging, yard work, something that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat in addition to 2 strength training work outs. Getting good sleep leads to improvements in all facets of life. We should be prioritizing sleep so that we can perform at a higher level in everything else we do. So, put that phone away and get some rest!





Resources:

Colrain, I. M., Nicholas, C. L., & Baker, F. C. (n.d.). Alcohol and the Sleeping Brain. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-62619-6.00024-0

CDC. (2023, June 20). Move More; Sit Less. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 5, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

Galpin. (2023, June 19). Andy Galpin Explains How to Optimize Your Sleep to Maximize Performance - Muscle & Fitness. Muscle & Fitness. Retrieved July 5, 2023, from https://www.muscleandfitness.com/athletes-celebrities/pro-tips/andy-galpin-explains-how-to-optimize-your-sleep-to-maximize-performance/

Melatonin: What You Need To Know. (n.d.). NCCIH. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know

Kline, C. E. (n.d.). The bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep: Implications for exercise adherence and sleep improvement. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827614544437


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