Whether you are a mere mortal, weekend warrior, an elite athlete or an average Joe, sleep, or lack there of affects us greatly. Which is why sleep is just as important as eating well, exercising and staying hydrated.
Research has shown that getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night can affect our mood, stress levels, our energy level and focus. Sleep deprivation can decrease the production of glycogen which fuels our body and it can also increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Sleep is when our body and brain recover, particularly during our hours of REM sleep. During REM sleep is when our body releases natural growth hormones which build and repair muscle tissue.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended amount of sleep for the average adult is 7-9 hours. If you work in a physical demanding job or you are an athlete you probably need more like 10-12 hours of sleep.
Getting the right amount of sleep can be difficult with our busy lives. I personally strive for 8 hours of sleep which is probably the bare minimum of what I need considering I do CrossFit 3 to 5 days a week, coach kids basketball 3 days a week, run my own business, and my dogs need to run for at least 20 minutes a few days a week.
If you want to improve your quality of sleep, start by creating a bed time routine. The important things is do what makes the most sense for you and what you can do consistently. As you develop these night time rituals / habits you can add more on.
Here a few ideas you can experiment with
- Getting off screens an hour before bed
- Layout out clothes and get everything ready for the next day(gym bag, briefcase, etc)
- Plan out your breakfast and lunch for the following day
- Set up the coffee pot and set the timer the night before
- Read a book or Journal
- Stretch and/or meditate
These days while we are all sheltered in due to COVID 19, some of the ideas in the list don’t make a lot of sense but some do. If you can start experimenting now with some that do make sense, you will be able add new tasks / habits later on.
My night time ritual currently consist of:
- Stretching and rolling my body out.
- Meditation and nasal breathing
- Getting off screens earlier than later
- Reading for 15 to 20 minutes
My current goal is get at least 8 hours of sleep of night because I usually only get 7, sometimes as little at 6.5.
Do you have a night time routine? How much sleep do you get a night? Leave a comment below with your night time / before bed routine and / or your amount of sleep.