Very often neglected, good quality sleep helps us to restore energy levels, facilitates weight loss and facilitates brain rest to get ready for the next day mental activities (so-called “fresh head”). Inadequate recovery leads to increased fatigue, decreased alertness and causes impaired performance. It negatively impacts muscle growth for people who try to achieve better physics and it has been proved that sleep deprivation puts our organism in a state comparable to alcohol intoxication.
Below we present some practical tips on how to increase the quality of your sleep:
Alcohol helps to fall asleep faster, but hinders the quality of sleep. Research shows that alcohol reduces REM sleep and causes disruptions of sleep continuity in the second part of the sleep (referred to as “rebound effect”, which coincides with organism clearance from alcohol). To mitigate the influence of alcohol on your sleep quality, finish the last drink couple of hours before planned bed-time.
Higher levels of technology use before sleep (that half an hour scroll of Facebook feed a lot of us perform while already in the bed) has been proved to decrease the quality of sleep. However previous research indicating interaction of radio-magnetic fields with brain activity during our rest time did not show sufficient evidence to prove such an interaction. Though we would still recommend to keep your phone in other room during night and try to wake up naturally or to use a traditional alarm clock.
Popular misconception of “no food after 6 pm” does more harm than good. Our body needs energy throughout a day and unless you’ll end up sleeping before 9 pm, you shouldn’t restrict your food intake after 6 pm. However, the timing of your dinner still matters. Here is what we recommend: sugary foods (fruits including) and saturated fats (beef, cheese) – 3 hours before sleep latest. Carbs (only in moderation) – no less than 2 hours before sleep. Lean protein (nuts, fish, chicken) – 1 hour before bed time will do. Based on the macros in the food you are getting for dinner you should adjust the timing of your last meal (this is not a schedule for a consecutive 3-hours food binge).
There are plenty of theories on how log one should sleep. For me personally 6 hours (or 2 REM phases) sleep works the best. Though the duration of recovering sleep is different for everybody and depends on age, level of mental activity, level of physical activity and many other factors. Observe your sleep routine and day-light activity following it for a couple of weeks to find your individual optimal sleeping time.
Right pillow is as important for your good night rest as sleep duration. Too soft a pillow won’t provide enough assistance for your neck causing muscle tension. Too big or a pile of pillows will on the contrary will fix your head under unnatural angle, blocking your breathing canals causing very often snoring. Our choice is orthopedic pillow – you can’t go wrong with this one.
Physical activity before sleep boosts body metabolism aiding weight loss during sleep. Tiredness and oxygen in the body helps to fall asleep easier and have a deeper sleep. On the other hand, morning trainings provide energy boost that helps to keep you awake and concentrated during the day to come. Our preference goes to the morning routines, because, as we all know, as the day progresses the motivation levels usually decrease.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time eases our body from additional stress of continuous adjustment to different sleeping routines. It’s not always easy to schedule a regular bed-time, but it pays off massively in a form of better alertness and lower fatigue level during day-time. Moreover, being consequent with this makes our biological clock operate on “auto-pilot” making it easy to wake up every day at the same time naturally, without any alarms set (and natural awakening sets us in a better mood).
Continuing the topic of natural awakening, I’d like to stress the importance of aligning the time we start our day with the time sun starts to rise. Gradual intensification of light helps our body to adjust to the state of alertness slowly, facilitating eye adjustment to the day light and lowering the stress levels caused by abrupt awakening. It’s not always easy to adjust the sleeping schedule accordingly, however here comes to help a solution such as wake-up table lamps that imitate sun light and can be set to a time selected by the user.
Caffeine reaches a peak level in 30 to 60 minutes. Its half-life veries between 3 to 5 hours, which means that only half of it is removed from an organism during this time. For the remainder, it can take up to 14 hours. Researches prove that caffeine can delay the timing of your body clock, therefore it is advised to avoid late afternoon and evening coffee and limit its daily consumption to three cups.
Research shows that temperature has an impact on the number of calories burnt. The colder it is, the more our body produces energy to keep us worm, therefore casing sweating and body weight loss (of course you won’t lose as much as 3 kg overnight). However, having temperature too low does not have a good effect. Optimal temperature for sleep is between 20 and 23 degrees.
Sleep is the last thing you should save your time on. Pay attention to your Beauty sleep!