The site uses its own technical cookies, anonymous third party analytic cookies and third-party cookies that could be used in profiling: in accessing any element/area of the site outside of this banner, you consent to receiving cookies. If you want to know more or refuse consent to cookies, click here.
OK

How to get a solid rest and hit your gym goals

If sleep is an issue, give these tips a try and make bedtime the best moment of your day.

Training is essential in the daily routine, but there are also other components that define a healthy and wellness lifestyle. If your diet, hydration levels and sleep quality aren’t up to scratch, then your gym sessions won’t be either. Sleep is the big one here; good sleep helps you to stay focused, it helps keep you motivated and it allows time for your body and muscles to repair, ready for the next workout and of course, sleep gives you energy. But if you’re struggling to get a good sleep, or you’re waking up several times in the night, you might find these simple tips useful.

Wind down

It’s crucial to relax your body before bed. You won’t get the good quality sleep you want if your mind is racing. Try a warm bath before bedtime, or even relaxation exercises like yoga or meditation.

If you find you’re going to bed with a busy mind, write a list of thoughts so that it’s essentially ‘out of your head’. You can keep this list next to your bed so if you do wake up in the night, you’re able to jot down anything in your mind that’s stopping you from going back to sleep.

Practice a sleep routine

Going to bed at similar times each night and getting up at similar times in the morning, is a simple way to ensure good sleep throughout the week. Why? Put simply, we have an internal sleep-wake cycle, known as our circadian rhythm. If we go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, our body is prepared to release the sleepy hormones in the evening and the wake-up hormones in the morning. Avoid weekend lie-ins, this only wrecks your sleep-wake cycle and can leave you with jet lag symptoms. If you’re particularly sleepy in the day, opt for a 20-minute nap before 3pm.

Watch when you workout

Exercising too close to bedtime can actually disrupt your sleep as the stress hormone cortisol, which is released when we exercise, which in turn, keeps you awake. However, exercising earlier in the day is great for sleep and can promote that tired feeling, ideal for when you’re hoping to wind down before bed.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol

It goes without saying that stimulants such as caffeine can disrupt sleep. If you’re partial to a late afternoon coffee, you might want to switch to decaf as caffeine can actually stay in the system for 10 hours after consumption. Other foods that contain caffeine include energy drinks, chocolate - especially dark chocolate -  and even certain ice creams. When it comes to alcohol, a glass or two of wine might help you nod off quickly, but it can wreak havoc on the quality of your sleep. It’s best to avoid the booze if you want a peaceful, undisturbed night.

Try a sleepy tea

Ensuring you don’t drink it too close to bedtime (or you’ll end up waking up in the night needing the toilet!), a herbal tea can help you drift off peacefully. Chamomile tea is a great choice here as it helps relax the nervous system, allowing the body to feel calm and restful.

Foods for sleep

What you eat before bed can impact your sleep quality. Certain foods can hinder your sleep such as sugary foods or refined carbs. Other foods can actually help. Try including foods that contain tryptophan, which increases the production of melatonin, the sleepy hormone. Foods include turkey, chicken, fish, eggs and pumpkin seeds.

Ditch the screens

The blue light emitted from phones and tablets can disrupt your sleep as your mind sees light as a wake-up call rather than a wind-down call and the production of melatonin is impaired. The advice to avoid the so-called digital insomnia is to try to switch off all electronic devices an hour (or so) before bed, perhaps preferring a good book.

/related post

Gymnastics and seniors: all the benefits of physical activity for the over 65s

Physical activity is a great instrument to slow down the ageing process and increase life expectancy...