You sleep well, you function better – right? Seems obvious, doesn’t it. Harder than we think though in this hectic, technology bursting age we live in! It especially becomes more and more tricky when you start training for races. Trust me, I’ve been there! All the things I did do in my evenings are taken up with training, then I still need to do those things when I’m done, meaning sleep gets forgotten or seen as not a priority. When, in fact, it should be the opposite!
As I’ve got older I really have begun to appreciate sleeping well, and it has slowly become something I deem just as important as eating correctly. Lack of sleep can cause so many health problems, for me especially, if I don’t get a good night’s sleep I can trigger a seizure due to my epilepsy. Some people will find without a good night’s sleep they won’t perform as well, they’ll feel lethargic and fatigue, and then throw exercise into the mix? Often, it’ll be the first thing we cut out to compensate for sleeping badly. Put it this way, whenever I go away or I’m invited on overnight trips, I’m the first to stick their hand up and say I need to go to bed. I’d rather sleep well, get up early and train well rather than make a training session feel ten times worse because I stayed up too late.
There are other things other than late nights that are an important factor in bad sleep. Your diet, your technology addiction or something as simple as your mattress and pillows. I’ve got Tempur pillows, which I actually reviewed years ago when my blog was a baby. They have been incredible, in fact when my husband’s neck was playing up due to sleeping funny, I donated my Tempur pillow and due to its support, he was fixed. So we ended up buying more of them. Tempur also do mattress as well, but the main point I’m trying to make is, invest in your bed! Think about it, what two things do our lives revolve around and take up more time than anything else? Our jobs and our sleep. If you hate your job, as it’s making you unhappy, what do we do? Find a new one. If we sleep badly all the time, what do we do? Attempt to go to bed earlier for the next week, then forget about it and slip back into old habits. Just like your job, you have to find something that works for yours. So if you need to invest in a more supportive mattress and pillow set – do it. I assure you that this is incredibly important for the rest part of fitness. Resting is JUST as important as exercising.
As someone who has had a bad dose of insomnia over my years, here are my top tips on getting better sleep. In no particular order…
Put down the technology
As an ‘influencer’ I’d have to say this is one of the worst and the hardest to do. My phone has pretty much been in my hand before falling asleep, in fact, been in my hand when I’ve fallen asleep. Then the weirdest things happen where I dream about things I was reading or doing – my mind is stupidly active which isn’t at all restful. Give yourself a phone and technology cut off point. Also, pop your phone onto the night mode and anti-blue light.
A good bed set up
Fresh sheets always help with a good night’s sleep for me. I do a Sunday bed linen change every week so it’ll help me start Monday off on the right foot. Things to consider are changing your pillows or mattress, remember you need good support for a good night’s sleep.
Tea for bed
I love chamomile tea before bed and a good book. They both let me unwind, although I have my tea an hour or so before bed, just so I don’t need to do any toilet runs in the night, which will disrupt my sleep. A good book is a great option too, as you’re absorbed in the story you’ll be limiting your day-to-day worries.
Stretch it out
Training a lot can be hard on your body. Having a good bed setup is one thing, but are you stretching? I love to lie on my bed and stretch out. Things like glute stretches and hamstring stretch, or even just a full body stretch can make you feel great, especially after a training session
Top tip and one I love, is lavender oil. Dabbing lavender on your pillowcase or even burning candles before bed (be sure to blow them out) can really help relax you. The idea is to do as many things you need to do to unwind yourself.
When we work out the body can become tense. When we find the body to be tense post training, it makes us tight, and that can really have an impact on our sleep. So, with some good relaxation techniques and a good bed setup, you’ll be sleeping like a baby… well one that sleeps pretty well and on our way to be energised for better training sessions. And remember sleep is key in training well!