When it comes to lifting your best, the fitness world tends to be fixated on personal bests, protein intake and proper hydration. However an underrated yet often neglected part of taking your training to the next level, is your sleep! A good night’s sleep should be an essential part of your daily training rituals, yet so many lifters struggle to get quality shuteye. We’ve teamed up with leading sleep expert, Professor Greg Roach from CQUniversity, to give you his top five tips to help you get the best sleep possible.
1. Make sure you spend enough time in bed
Professor Roach can’t stress this enough - if you want to get more sleep, spend more time in bed! If you’re aiming for 8 hours, you’ll need to give yourself more time in bed to allow for the natural process of falling asleep to occur. This means you’ll have to prioritise sleep within your day. We know this is easier said than done, but making a conscious effort every day to try and get into bed earlier will make a world of a difference.
2. Change your mindset
It’s time to change your mindset about sleep. Think of sleep not as cheating, but as an effective way to be more productive in your life. Changing your mindset around sleep and staying in bed can be a super important aspect when trying to fix your relationship with sleep. Give yourself permission to spend time in bed - think of it as training with your eyes closed, not being lazy.
3. Creating the perfect environment
Ensure that your bedroom is the ideal environment for sleeping to set yourself up for success. Firstly, it has to be dark, quiet, and cool. If you’re living somewhere that’s a bit noisy, one trick that people use is to have the fan on or aircon on. The noise of those devices is just enough to drown out the spikes of noise coming from outside.
One helpful tip that people previously used over the years is to detune the radio in their room to create a soft static sound. We know radios aren’t quite a common household item anymore, so if you don’t have a radio you can get a white noise machine, or even download an app!
4. Don’t jump into bed straight after exercise
According to Professor Greg Roach, people that leave at least a 90 minute break between finishing their workout and going to bed experience a positive effect on their sleep. If you’re training in the evening (we know that some people don’t have a choice in this), make sure you aren’t going to bed straight away if possible. Take time to relax - find what works for you, whether that's ready a book, eating, doing yoga, or stretching to ensure you’re leaving enough time between bedtime and your workout.
5. Make sure your caffeine intake isn't too close to your bedtime
According to Professor Greg Roach, caffeine does have positive effects on your performance. Caffeine has proven to make you not only feel better, but perform better too. But there is a problem with having it too close to bedtime, as it can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Keeping your caffeine intake to the earlier parts of the day will make a huge difference!
If you’re still struggling with your sleep, make sure to head to the doctors and consult with a health professional to rule out any additional health conditions. A massive thank you to Professor Greg Roach for helping us out!