Try out these tips in nutrition, and science to maximize your sleep and recovery this winter.
I am a big fan of sleep, I’m sure you can relate. Oddly enough, it’s only been in my last few years that I have come to realize what an important role sleep truly plays in how you feel.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, almost half of all Americans say they feel sleepy during the day between three and seven days a week. Now daylight savings time comes around twice a year and can further add to that sleepiness we all experience.
Luckily this time around, we gain an hour of sleep (sadly we get see the sun set by 5 PM though - RIP) which can still effect our sleep schedule. You might even be feeling tired earlier in the day or will feel it during this week. Whether you have an issue with grogginess in the mornings when you wake up, you have trouble falling asleep, or you are restless during your nights sleep - Here are my top five tips for getting more sleep, feeling more rested in the morning, and for going to bed easier.
PS. I have struggled the past three years due to my early wake up call to find a good sleep schedule, supplements for sleep, and any sleep device that can help me out along the way. These are five things that have truly helped me the most in my sleep journey and they vary from gadgets that help me out to simple improvements in your nightly routine.
Even if you incorporate just one of these tips into your regime, I promise you will see improvement in your rest and recovery in some way. So here are five ways to maximize your sleep and recovery.
1. Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Now this might be an obvious one, but it took me a long time to truly get a good sleep schedule down. Prioritizing sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. It’s up there with exercise and nutrition (probably even more important as it heavily effects your weight, strength, and even digestion!) It was easy in college for me not to prioritize my sleep and to stay up late doing school work, mindlessly watching tv, or late night outs. Nothing was consistent by the end of an average week. I have found the best thing for me is at least 7-8 hours a night. It was hard to getter habit going at first, but
I started organizing my day to make sure I would get my sleep at night. I know everyone is different in regards to routine and lifestyle, so try to make some adjustment that will work for you.
Start slowly, try a half hour earlier every night for a week. Make it a challenge. I worked my way up to a whole hour earlier than I was used to and it is crazy how much a difference I had in energy and attuned during the day. A good way to stay on track is to keep a sleep journal. You become more aware of your habits and how much you do (or don't do) something when you have a visual way of tracking.
2. Sun Lamp
If you get up early in the winter time, you may notice something. It’s still dark out. It can be hard to get going in the morning when there is no sun out. As a personal trainer who gets up before the sun most mornings for work, this was one of my biggest struggles. My body clock feels weird when I’m up moving around in the dark. So I found a way to hack the system- bring the sun to me.
Sun lamps and sunrise alarm clocks have been two tools that have helped me get up in the mornings with less complaining and less shock to the system. Basically they stimulate a natural sunrise that gradually builds up until it is fully up, followed by everyone’s favorite sound - the morning alarm. It really helps you wake up without the total shock to your system since the sunrise effect is so gradual and starts about 15 minutes before your alarm goes off.