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How important is sleep?

Sleep is awesome – who doesn’t feel better after a great night’s sleep?  

If we wind things back to caveman times, we can see it must be pretty damn crucial as for around ⅓ of each 24 hour period we were totally defenceless in a world full of mean predators who would love to grab themselves a tasty human snack! If your body didn’t NEED sleep then it seems unlikely that it’d just curl up and basically turn off for an extended period of time every single day!!

Everyone will have times when they don’t get enough sleep on a given day, but what about when it becomes more common?  What happens when we’re not getting enough sleep on a regular basis?

  • – Your food cravings will probably go up
  • – It’ll probably be harder to focus and concentrate at work and at home
  • – Your recovery between workouts will slow down
  • – It may impact your hormone levels
  • – Your immune system will take a hit
  • – You’ll probably experience big swings in blood sugar levels and then energy levels
  • – It’ll be harder to gain muscle or lose fat

So, by now you’re probably convinced that getting enough good quality sleep is a great idea whoever you are, but how can you improve your sleep? Try these simple, actionable steps and see how much better you feel…

  • – Aim to be in bed for at least 7-8 hours per night – make it a priority
  • – Eat enough food – dieting tends to make sleep quality go down
  • – Train smart – doing too much high intensity work can mess with your sleep patterns (especially if you train in the evenings)
  • – Limit your caffeine intake – you don’t need 5 cups of coffee a day and, depending on your tolerance, caffeine after lunch can cause havoc when it comes to bedtime
  • – Turn the screens off – try avoid phones, tablets, computers and TVs for 1-2 hours before bed.  If you NEED to look at one then have a look at blue light blocking glasses to wear after the sun goes down
  • – Check your room – your body likes to be in a cool, dark environment to sleep so make sure your curtains are good and it’s probably worth opening a window
  • – Drink sensibly – there’s nothing more frustrating than waking up to pee in the night so try not to drink loads in the 1-2 hours before you go to bed
  • – Read a book – unwinding with a book before bed is a great way to relax your mind and set you up for great sleep (fiction tends to work better than non-fiction)
  • – Prepare for the morning – get things lined up so that your morning is stress free

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