To a good doctor, “sleep on it” is much more than just a saying. When building muscle and in endurance training especially, in addition to training stimuli, the whole body needs time to also regenerate. Muscles can only grow, the blood’s oxygen level rise and the brain clear whilst resting.
When you sleep your body repairs damage to the muscles from strain during workouts, hardens bones and renews skin cells. Every day the brain connects the information it has gathered to connected knowledge and clears unnecessary knowledge. The kidneys and liver eliminate contaminants and pollutants from the body’s circulatory system in the urine. Without truly restful, healthy sleep not much will work properly - neither at work nor in sport.
Along the lines of ‘work out hard, sleep harder’, coaches around the world are currently changing their workout plans to add more rest and extend regeneration phases. Falling and staying asleep can usually be significantly improved with simple adjustments to a few habits, proving that people’s sleep problems are rarely due to pathological sleep disorders. According to health reports, only around ten percent of Germans have true sleep disorders (11% of women and 8% of men). If you haven’t had a good night’s sleep for weeks and you’re always dragging through the day, exhausted, feel cold or are constantly nervous, you should plan a visit to a sleep lab.
For everyone else here are 10 simple tips that you can use to improve your sleep hygiene tonight and enjoy a more restful sleep in the long term.
Flout productivity. Sometimes.
So far so clear: sleeping after sport is the number one recovery factor in conjunction with good Supplements But at times when depressive moods, social stress and work burnout are becoming more and more common, effective relaxation tactics both at home and at work are necessary for survival. We all want to ‘just get straight to sleep’ and not just on some nights. ‘Overall better sleep’ would also be nice.
If you spend all day at full power and want to maintain this for a while, you should consciously adopt a few relaxation exercises, which help you to fall asleep so that you can get the most from your night.
Checking those last few emails, preparing for two meetings and watching an entire series before bed - we have all got to this point in the hope of getting a step ahead of the daily grind.
But your evening plans couldn’t be much worse. It seems like we will be better prepared if we work instead of sleeping. Unfortunately the opposite is the case. As the evening progresses your work shouldn’t necessarily be the most important thing any more. Instead, exciting activities get us worked up and stop us from getting to sleep quickly. We also subconsciously take the last big thing we think about before going to sleep into the land of dreams with us.
The biggest mistake: Watching exciting films or quickly fitting in stressful activities for the next day before going to sleep.
To get it right: Give your brain a sign that it is bedtime by finishing work, switching off the TV and dimming the lights at least half an hour before bed. This lets your head slowly settle down and your body start to release the sleep hormone melatonin. If really important tasks are queueing up for the next day, write a to do list in the evening with everything on it. This way you can organise your thoughts again, separate what is and isn’t important and you can take the coming tasks off your mind.
Tip: If you want to take really good thoughts to bed with you, we recommend keeping a daily gratitude diary. A few minutes before going to sleep, write down the positive experiences or training progress from the day that you are thankful for. This way you will develop a more positive attitude in life, which will stay with you during the night.
Smartphones, screens and blue light
We are serious: most of us were probably already aware before reading this article that falling asleep in front of the TV does not lead to a restful night. But sleep research has now found that the flickering of screens doesn’t just lead to restless sleep, it also hinders or even completely interrupts the body’s melatonin production. You can filter out the blue light with glasses before going to sleep or protect your eyes from blue light with a corresponding app. Considering the many distractions from electric devices, it is much better to switch off all of the screens in the room.
Dark and quiet
It is not just smartphones, laptops and TVs that create light and noise and stop you falling asleep. The morning sun, street noises, a streetlight outside your window or a dog in your bed can also keep you from sleep and pose a threat to your health. The fact the body is very sensitive to environmental stimuli can be traced back to our earliest history. Being so quick to wake was originally a survival strategy, but today it increasingly makes us ill. To get restful sleep, you should just sleep, nothing else.
The biggest mistake: Allowing outside distractions (light and noise).
To get it right: Darken your room as much as possible. A roller shutter or light blocking curtains are ideal for keeping light out - if necessary a normal blind will also do. Flickering screens and blinking lights are also a no-no.
The same applies to any noise. A switched-on TV, a ticking clock or the noise from the club underneath your apartment - none of it belongs in the bedroom if you want to get to sleep quickly.
Tip: Stowaways like your dog (better yet your partner too) should also be kept out if you really want to rest well throughout the night.
Your smartphone is constantly alert - and so are you. Just the possibility of getting a message keeps you from getting to sleep. To be able to fall asleep quickly and give your mind plenty of rest, you should not just switch off the screen but also block any incoming messages and calls.
The biggest mistake: Leaving your phone on at night so as not to miss any news.
To get it right: To begin with, switching off your phone will feel like not being in control for many people, but this feeling will go away after just a few days and you will be able to sleep better without being constantly alert. Your concentration and performance will thank you for a long time.
Tipp: To get to sleep more quickly and sleep better, simply switch your phone to flight mode and deep relaxation can arrive.
Too warm, too cold, too dry - so many people sleep like this hoping it is the best thing for their rest. They couldn’t be more wrong. The optimal sleeping temperature is between 16 and 23 degrees - some sleep better at a higher temperature, some at a lower temperature. If you are sweating or shivering you won’t sleep well or you will wake up a lot and therefore interrupt important sleep phases. Stuffy, hot air dries out your mucous membranes and makes you more vulnerable to infections.
The biggest mistake: Blocking the flow of fresh air into your bedroom to sleep in the heat.
To get it right: Instead of closing the window and turning the heating up, leave the window open and use more covers if it is too cold. If you need to, you can always take a layer off.
Tip: Of course, this only works if it is quiet outside your window at night. If you can’t have quiet and fresh air in your room at the same time, you should seriously consider changing to another room - but you don’t need to move.
Lots of people feel like the snooze button on their alarm clock gives them the chance to rest a little longer. In fact, the early rise followed by 15 minutes of restless sleep reduces performance and leaves you feeling tired all day. Instead, take an additional quarter hour to meditate or prepare for meetings and people who demand your full attention.
The biggest mistake: The assumption that 15 minutes longer in bed will bring you more rest.
To get it right: Your sleep follows a recurring 24 hour pattern. To wake up rested you should try to get up at the same time every day. Ideally you should maintain this pattern at the weekend too so as not to wreak havoc on your sleeping and waking cycle - if you really need the sleep try going to bed an hour earlier.
Tip: Put your alarm clock far enough away from your bed to force you to get up if you want to press the snooze button. This way the problem will quickly solve itself.
The ideal solution as a sleep aid. Bedtime rituals, darkness, valerian, lavender and other plant substances help your body to settle down. As a result, it starts to produce and release the body’s own sleep hormone melatonin. Normally your body clock uses the sun as a guide. But in a world which is lit up around the clock, this natural gauge doesn’t work as well as it should.
So to get to sleep faster, this is where melatonin supplementing comes into play. Melatonin synchronises your body clock and tells your cells that it is time to sleep. So the time it takes to get to sleep is noticeably shorter and you can counter jet lag. A bedtime drink with just 1 mg of melatonin is enough to stimulate the described effects and helps you to maintain your performance day to day and in training regeneration.
To get it right: To get to sleep without risking your health you should always go for high quality pills like ESN Melatonin Sleep Spray for example.
Everyone can sleep better. To easily get a handle on your sleepless nights and finally be able to sleep better, here are all 10 tips again:
- Start fixed bedtime rituals around half an hour before bed.
- Write down your important tasks and put related thoughts to rest at night.
- A gratitude diary works wonders on the quality of your thoughts in sleep.
- Minimise outside distractions (light and noise) - darkness and quiet are your friends.
- Switch off electronics (phones and TVs) - if possible put them on flight mode.
- Depending on your neighbourhood, sleep with your window open and the heating turned down.
- Force yourself to get up to hit the snooze button by putting your alarm clock far away from the bed.
- Try to get up at the same time on the weekends - to catch up on sleep it is better to go to bed an hour earlier.
- Stimulate your natural sleep phase by taking 1 mg of melatonin (in Mr. Sandman’s Magic Cocktail), enjoy a restful night and stay healthy.
A relaxed, wholesome breakfast with enough carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals is the healthiest way to do your body good in the morning. Don’t forget: Some tips will work on the first try, others will take some time to show their full effect - but then they will last.
We hope you have a pleasant morning when you rise and shine.