Whether you’re training for a triathlon or training for a fight, one thing you can be sure of is that training is exhausting. What’s worse is when you wake up exhausted. If you’re already exhausted before you even begin training, you’re not getting the full benefits of your training routine. How you prepare for bed and sleep at night can have a big impact on how you feel the next morning. If you’re waking up feeling tired, it could be due to your nighttime routine. Here are some tips to help you get a better night of sleep so you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready for some serious workout time.
1. Replace Blankets and Pillows
The first step to a beneficial sleep is the pillows and blankets you use on your bed. Not all pillows and blankets are created equal. Forget blankets for their sentimental value and use blankets for their physical value. Did you know the benefits of weighted blankets include the therapeutic benefits of receiving a massage? These heavy blankets can make you feel well-rested. While you may be attached to your feather pillow, it’s soft but it’s not offering the right types of support. Replace it with an ergonomic memory foam pillow so when you wake in the morning your neck isn’t stiff from an awkward night of sleep.
2. Cut the Electronics
Most medical professionals agree the blue light emitted from your phone and other electronics are keeping you awake at night. That’s because blue light stops the production of melatonin, which you need to help you feel sleepy. If your body thinks it’s still daylight outside, then it isn’t going to be ready for bed.
But there’s another reason why you shouldn’t look at your phone just before bed. That’s because what you find on your phone, whether it’s an email or a news alert, can leave you feeling anxious and that can cause your mind to wander. On nights before training, plan on winding down without electronics for at least the last hour before bed. Go longer if you can. The more distance you can put between your mind relaxing and the outside world, the better your sleep will be.
3. Avoid Alcohol
While over the past few years vintners have been touting the heart health benefits of red wine, new research is showing that alcohol should be avoided at any time. While that’s not likely to stop connoisseurs of fine wine, you should listen, especially on the eve of rigorous training. That’s because alcohol reduces the time of REM sleep, which is vital to feeling rested. It is during REM that dreaming occurs, and it is also during this phase that some of the body’s restorative processes take place. Without enough REM sleep, your waking hours will be spent feeling tired and groggy. That makes for a challenging training session.
4. Be Consistent
The best thing you can do for your nighttime routine is be consistent. That means turning out the lights and all electronics at the same time every night and setting your alarm for the same time every morning. Even staying up late one night during the weekend can throw your body’s clock off, which is why it’s important to stick with it. You’ll train your circadian rhythm and wake to feel rested and ready to go each morning.
5. Light Your Day
The last thing you can do to enhance the productivity of your time of sleep is to get plenty of light during the day. This works to further strengthen your circadian rhythm so your body knows it has experienced the wonderful light of day, and when the lights turn out, the melatonin production can commence.
Getting the best night of sleep may look like a lot of work, but once you get the rhythm down it really does become second nature. Getting the right sleep is how you train to be a winner.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks, and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
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