Sleep is essential to everyone and especially important to athletes, but sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep. To fully recover from your long hours of training it’s necessary to get a good night’s rest. If you are having troubles falling asleep, or waking up in the middle of the night, here are a few tips to help you get the rest you need.
Tick Back the Clock
If you know you already don’t get much sleep try this method. Purposely make your bedtime 5 hours and thirty minutes before you have to wake up. Try it for a few days and when you feel sleepy during the day, set your new bedtime to allow for another 15 minutes. Repeat adding 15 minutes back onto your sleep schedule until you don’t fall asleep during the day or midafternoon. This will help you realize how much sleep your body needs as well as resetting your sleep clock.
What You Eat
What you eat close to bedtime or for dinner can have effects on how well you sleep. If you frequently find you are having troubles falling asleep try looking to your diet. Tomato sauce contains an amino acid that triggers your brain to be active. Similarly, chocolate contains caffeine which means even though you put the coffee down in the morning, you might still have a caffeine intake. Foods that will help you get to sleep are milk, pumpkin seeds, and egg whites.
Yoga, while exercising your body, is also a great way to regulate your breathing. Since most of the stretches in yoga also depend on your breathing technique, it’s a great way to slow your body down. Yoga also helps release stress which may be preventing you from a good night’s sleep.
What’s in your bedroom can affect how well you sleep. Anything bright in your room will prevent you from falling asleep. Avoid bright alarm clocks or night lights and stick to a darker room. If the temperature of the room is too hot, that might also prevent you from falling asleep. Keep the room cool and let the bed covers warm your body up. If you’ve tried making a sleep friendly habitat in your room but still have troubles, try keeping the room lavender scented, or another calming scent.
Stress is a never-ending cycle when sleep is involved. Too much stress and it’s hard for your body to stay asleep, too little sleep and your body is in a state of stress. If you are having a hard time falling asleep due to stress try meditation or yoga before bed. Both will regulate your breathing which helps you destress. If you wake up in the middle of the night due to stress trying counting down from 300 but in increments of three. It gives your brain a dull activity to focus on instead of whatever is stressing you.
Bed Equals Sleep
Get into bed only when you are ready to fall asleep. Avoid using your phone in bed or staying up in bed reading. This goes for when you can’t sleep too. If you’ve been in bed for twenty minutes and still can’t drift off to slumber land, get up and try a boring activity away from your bed. Train yourself to only be in bed when you are ready to fall asleep so that your body starts to sleep faster.
Routines are a good way to trick your brain into falling asleep. Make a routine to get yourself prepared to fall asleep an hour before you actual intend on sleeping. Try doing a relaxing activity like reading for the first twenty minutes, then start getting ready for bed for the next twenty minutes, and the last twenty minutes focus on meditating. Setting a routine before bed can help your brain fall asleep faster. Routines are also good for sleep schedules. If you set your body on a routine for sleep, like falling asleep and waking up at the same time every day, it makes it easier for you to get the right amount of sleep you need.
Hopefully these tips tricked your brain into falling asleep when you hit the pillow and staying asleep throughout the night. If you find you’ve tried every method, but still can’t sleep, then it might be time to look into a new mattress.