I’ll be honest, I don’t get a lot of sleep. This is partly because I am a night worrier but also partly because I don’t help myself. I don’t have any routine which, in my defence, is pretty difficult as a University student, and I’ll spend most of the night scrolling through Instagram and Twitter rather than giving my brain time to relax. Sleep is super important for anyone but especially when you’re training and putting your body through a lot of stress. We might see training as a stress reliever but it is also putting stress onto your body and so you need to make sure you’re giving your body plenty of time to recover. I’ve been doing a bit of research into different ways I can help myself when it comes to sleep, so I thought I would share some of my top tips that I’ll be trying out.
- Make sure you’re not over doing it with food just before bed. This can be tough, particularly if you’ve had a busy day (or it hits 11 and you realise you’re nowhere near your macros) but you need to try and make sure you’re not having heavy meals before you go to sleep. Our bodies are not made to eat loads and then just stop, plus, without getting all scientific, feeling full makes it difficult to get a good nights sleep.
- Turn off your phone!! In this day and age it’s pretty hard to just switch off. I am a sucker for flicking through my phone till all hours and expecting to turn it off and just be able to go straight to bed. You need to get in the mindset of ‘being tired’ and staring at a bright light is just tricking your brain. Plus, if you’re on your phone there will always be something you need to do, whatever it is can wait until the morning.
- Give yourself some relaxation time. Before bed do something to help yourself to wind down. Whether that be having a nice hot bath, meditating or colouring. Giving yourself some ‘me’ time will help you feel relax and let you switch off from the stresses of the day.
- Get into a routine. Another thing I am pretty bad at. You need to get yourself into healthy sleeping habits to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Realistically, this is not always possible but it can be done a lot of the time and can be really beneficial in helping you to relax.
- Get some fresh air. This can be tough, especially during exam season when it can be tempting to shut yourself inside all day and work. However, spending time outside can be really refreshing when you’ve been crammed inside all day. Again, avoiding getting too ‘science-y’, basically when you spend time outside your body receives more of a chemical called Melatonin that helps to regulate your sleep cycle. So grab your shoes and get outside, you’ll thank yourself for it!
So what happens if you’re sleep fine but you’re still tired?
There are loads of different reasons you might be struggling with fatigue and if it is a persistent problem it is probably worth going to see a Doctor and get some professional help for it. There are also a few different things you can try out to help yourself a little bit. Ben Coomber did a really good series talking about different reasons why you might be struggling with fatigue that gives you loads of advice.
One tip I found really useful was making sure you’re getting the right macronutrient balance. This can take a bit of experimenting but, from experience, it has really helped deal with fatigue. Since lowering my carbohydrates and increasing my protein I have been feeling a lot less sluggish and had far more energy. It’s also important to make sure you’re getting your micronutrients in your diet as well (and that they’re off a good quality!) If you’re looking for more information make sure you watch these YouTube videos (I popped the link above!).
Let me know your top tips for sleeping or if you try any of these!