Who doesn’t love good night’s sleep? You wake up refreshed and energized, ready to make the most out of the new day.
Sleep is when most of the recuperation and growth for all the work done in the gym takes place. In addition to the physical benefits, there are the mental ones. When you’re dealing with a stressful situation and can’t seem to focus, you often hear that old saying, “sleep on it, everything will look better in the morning.” 🛌 And it usually does!
But what if you have trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep through the night? Here are five simple, sleep-inducing remedies to help you get the zzz’s you need.
1. THE CAFFEINE CONNECTION
We all love our coffee ☕, but if you are having trouble getting to sleep, I recommend stopping all caffeine consumption 4-6 hours before bed. Extremely caffeine sensitive people may need to cut it out even earlier, like 8-10 hours before bed. Typically I stop taking all caffeine and stimulants around 4 pm – even if I workout later than that, I don’t take a pre-workout drink that has caffeine in it.
2. FOLLOW A SET SCHEDULE
Sleeping and waking at the same times everyday helps your circadian rhythms acclimate to a consistent schedule to improve sleep patterns and quality of sleep.
I go to bed between 10-10:30 pm and get up at 6-6:30 am each morning. I am very consistent with this. Seven to eight hours of sleep is my sweet spot. If I get more than that I cannot fall asleep the next night, and if I get less than that I start to feel really drowsy around 3pm. 🕙
3. CHOOSE A BOOK, NOT YOUR PHONE (OR IPAD)
It’s easy to get in bed and try to wind down by skimming through your Instagram feed or watching something on your iPad after you’re all warm and cozy under the sheets. But studies consistently show that the light given off by electronic devices can signal our brains to stay alert, and awake. So, if you’re having trouble getting to sleep at night, it’s probably best to avoid those devices an hour or so before you call it a night.
4. WORK IT OUT
Regular exercise helps reduce stress. This makes it easier for your body and mind to relax. Also, the physical activity leaves you tired, which can help you conk out faster at night. 🏋️♀️
5. CREATE A BEDTIME RITUAL
The key to a better night’s sleep is being relaxed. Let your mind and body unwind from the stress of work and other responsibilities. You can try meditation techniques, massage, or even something as simple as a bath to clear your mind. A ritual you perform every night as you prepare for bed can also help you relax.
Most nights, I shoot to be done with work and workouts by 8 pm. Then I take Bodhi for a walk 🐕, rinse off and put my pajamas on. I usually have my last meal (a protein shake, salad with grilled chicken or protein pancakes), make a decaf coffee or tea and watch a show with Allan (Better Call Saul right now) before calling it a night around 10. 😴
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One of the biggest names in the fitness industry, Nicole Wilkins is a world-record holding four-time Figure Olympia Champion and 2012 IFPA Personal Trainer of the Year. Nicole earned her BA in Wellness, Health Promotion and Injury Prevention at Oakland University. The owner and founder of nPower Nutrition, Nicole has helped thousands of people start living a healthier lifestyle and reach their fitness goals.