In the previous article we discussed how important sleep is; What sleep is for and what benefits good sleep has for building a good physical and / or improving sports performance.
That is all nice and nice, but it is about the same as telling someone on benefits (with snow on the roof in the winter) how nice having a lot of money is, without telling him or her how he can care more to receive money. That is why this seems to be a very good follow-up article.
In this article I want to talk about what you can do to ensure that your sleep quality improves, should it be poor now. Some points will seem obvious, while other tips may seem a lot less. Try them out, see which points are feasible for you.
Sleeping pills ...
Of course there are enough medicines or resources that you can use to get to sleep, but we are not going to talk about this. You can take a nice pammetje of course, and this will definitely improve your sleep quality in a certain sense. Very nice addiction sensitive, and not optimal for muscle tension and sports performance.
Also drinking alcohol, or a 'nightcap' as they used to call it (they were not talking about a sleeping dumb trien no) is not necessarily a good idea.
It is indeed true that drinking alcohol makes you fall asleep a little faster (1), but your sleep quality will suffer (2), and alcohol can negatively affect your REM sleep (see previous article) (3). So don't.
Now I can give a hundred examples of things you shouldn't do, but let's talk about the things that do work. A very important one that I want to start with:
Having a fixed day and night rhythm is very important; (jetlag anyone?)
Your body has a biological rhythm that lasts about a day; this is called the circadian rhythm; Many processes in the body proceed according to this rhythm; body temperature, secretion of certain hormones, heart rate, sleep pattern, etc.
This rhythm can be influenced by external factors, of which bright (blue) light is a very important one. (6) Light can influence the production of melatonin, a hormone that causes drowsiness. When the environment becomes darker / there is less light, the production of melatonin increases; you get sleepy and it's time to go to bed.
The influence of light on this rhythm is considerable; longer light exposures have a stronger effect (4) and can shift or disrupt the rhythm. If you go to the toilet at night, try to do this without light (gentlemen, so pee for a while while sitting, or just decorate your toilet with yellow tiles and hang a large bunch of lavender).
In addition, repeated / prolonged exposures have a greater effect than sporadic / short exposures (hence rhythm is so important) (5)
All this together can, if you disrupt a fixed rhythm, ruin a lot for you. Consider hormone values (and therefore your metabolism), concentration, learning ability and mood.
Keep pace so !!
What is important here is
- that you are consistent,
- that you make adjustments to your rhythm gradually,
- a light environment when waking up,
- that when you go to bed you are more and more in the dark (no night lights on, just before going to bed, not watching TV, not working on your PC at full brightness, or looking in the flashlight of your phone and counting how long it takes before your eyes start to hurt). If you have to work, or have a girlfriend who pulls your head off if you are not on Whatsapp 24/7, use a blue light filter.
- Also try to eat your diet at set times.
Let's continue with bedroom talk; we have already mentioned that you want your bedroom to be dark. No curtains that are thinner than your calves; they let in too much light. Make sure you have curtains that darken well, preferably so well that you break your shins every time you have to get out of bed to pee, because you are constantly bumping into your table.
In addition, it is important that your bedroom is quiet; sleeping with the TV on is therefore a big no-no; too much noise and too much light.
You also want your bedroom to be between 15 and 20 degrees; nice and cool! Window open, also good for fresh air! Sounds a bit like cavemen understood it pretty well, didn't it? Although .. Most girls will no longer fall for a blow to the head with a club, but good. They learn by doing!
We can also do things with nutrition to optimize your sleep.
First of all, you could try to make sure you don't have to get out of bed at night to pee. Now of course you can do this in two ways, but I'm not just talking about everything in bed. So don't drink too much before you go to sleep! Also saves you shins 😉
We have talked about alcohol, but also pay attention with pre workout and coffee; According to this study (7) you no longer want to consume caffeine 6 hours before you go to bed. (Listen to me, especially with 3 scoops pwo for an evening training)
Furthermore, tobacco and cigarettes are also not conducive (we were talking about food, but I do mean smoking it, although eating probably does not promote your sleep quality)
Finally, it is wise not to cram yourself full before bedtime; not necessarily because you get fat after 8 o'clock in the evening (I heard this seriously later this week .. Makesmesad 🙁) but because falling asleep with an overfull stomach is simply not pleasant.
The last cup, but certainly not the least important ..
Stress is a very important factor that can seriously ruin your sleep; We are often so busy with anything and everything during the day; no time to think. When we finally get to bed, turn off the lights, close the curtains, open the window neatly and don't drink too much .. In short, everything is perfect for a good night's sleep .. The cogwheels turn.
Worrying about the future, or fed up with the past. If only I had this way, or tomorrow I should be like this… Don't.
Easier said than done of course, I am the last person who can talk to others about this, but this is really disastrous for your night's rest.
Try to relax in the bedroom; you no longer use telephones, laptops, and TVs an hour before you go to sleep, and certainly not when you are in bed. Don't look at your email just yet .. Wait a minute to see if XXL Nutrition has a nice offer hey OWW what a sweet cat movie ... and before you know it you are reading about how to care for gerbils. No idea what they are, but at least you know what they should eat and how big their loft should be.
Have you tried all these steps, and are you still unable to sleep? Then try to concentrate on your abdominal breathing; put your hands on your stomach and breathe in deeply towards your hands and slowly out. This can create peace in your body by activating your parasympathetic nervous system.
If all else fails
And if that doesn't work ... you can just hold your breath for 10 minutes. Scientists have found that afterwards you sleep very deeply / are difficult to wake up. Further research is needed, but suggestions were made that this is somewhat catabolic. Perhaps we should wait a little while before we all start using this method.
Jan Willem van der Klis