Is one of your goals to improve on the quality of your sleep in 2020? Have you been needing tablets or medication to help you get better sleep? If you fall into either of these two categories please read on to find out how my tips to improve the quality of your sleep to give you less ‘brain fog’, more energy and a stronger all-round self.
Let’s get into it.
#1 STOP ALL SOCIAL MEDIA 1 HOUR BEFORE BED
Social media stimulates our bodies for various reasons. The content we watch will generally trigger an emotional response in the form of laughter, sadness, empathy etc. This ultimately leads to a physical response. Ever watched one of those free runners who’s videoing himself really high up a building with no safety equipment and your heart is thudding in anticipation of what could happen? Well, that’s your mirror neurons firing by recognising the situation and reacting as if you were in that position. Not ideal if you want a good night’s quality sleep. This is just one example but the physical effect of this can take up to hours before returning back to optimal rest and recover state. Consequently, the amount of good quality sleep you get that night is reduced.
By avoiding all social media 1 hour before bed you are allowing your body to unwind from the constant stimulation of being active on social media throughout the day. As a result, there is no interference in the sustained release of the hormone melatonin. This hormone is critical in the regulation of the body’s sleep/wake cycles and the key to falling asleep effortlessly.
#2 BURN ENERGY THROUGHOUT THE DAY
When you deplete your energy stores throughout the day the quality of your sleep will inevitably be better. The most effective way to top up your energy levels is to get some shut eye. When your energy stores are depleted, you may experience frequent yawning and even poor concentration during tasks. This is your brain literally telling you to go to bed as it wants to put you in the sleep cycle for a number of reasons. When you are asleep your body is at its lowest metabolic rate. This allows for the body to then focus all its energy on assimilating the fluids and food consumed earlier during that day. This process replenishes the depleted energy stores from the previous day. For this to occur efficiently the body must go into a deep sleep cycle and thus you will experience a better-quality sleep. It is why somebody who was a previously active individual but is now sedentary through injury struggles to sleep at night after 4/5 days of inactivity. This is because the sleep quality is driven by the depletion of energy stores throughout the day.
This can be as simple as taking the stairs twice a day and getting a little out of breath. Yes, it is uncomfortable, but try and see how briefly getting out of breath can affect your sleep quality.
#3 MEDITATE BEFORE BED
Meditation could be the key to unlocking the shackles on your sleep quality. This has been practiced by Buddhists for millennia and was pioneered by the ancient people of India. The practice involves focusing on the mind and on a specific thought in your head and allowing yourself to be the “watcher” of those thoughts. By, recognising your thoughts and never judging them you are living in the present moment. By doing this you turn the volume dial down on all the ‘background noise’ in the form of self-inflicted worries, judgements and fears, and allow constructive and peaceful thought patterns to enter your mind frame. Consequently, you are able to get to sleep faster and the quality of your sleep will improve. This is because your subconscious mind is not occupied with toxic self-fulfilling thoughts.
#4 *BONUS* DRINKING TEA’S BEFORE BED
Drinking a cup of chamomile tea or valerian tea half an hour before bed can help enhance the quality of your sleep. These ancient herbs have been used for centuries to improve the quality of human’s sleep. The exact science behind the mechanisms of action are not 100% clear, however, our ancestors were aware that chamomile and valerian leaf are potent for the regulation of sleep.
Below are two teas that we would advocate for helping to regulate the quality of your sleep. Click the images below to find out more information and purchase your first pack.
The following information has been provided for educational purposes only. We always advocate that you undergo your own research if in doubt about any of the information provided.
If you suffer from a condition or have longstanding sleep issues, then you should always consult your physician or doctor for further advice.
About the Author
Osei Agyeman is a chartered Physiotherapist (MCSP) with an additional degree in Sport and Exercise Science. Having also completed a Level 3 Personal Training and Level 2 Gym instructor qualifications my experience of Rehab, health and fitness are extensive. Oss is passionate about maximising performance through optimal functional movement. He takes a keen interest in nutrition and the power of how food (or no food) affects the body’s biochemistry. Oss offers no quick fixes or cheat methods for goal attainment but is a strong advocate for consistent and sustainable progress through hard work.