It might sound strange to be worrying about sleep when you’re barely leaving the house but getting good quality shut eye is key to staying fit and healthy, especially during a global health crisis. We asked our friends at PhD Nutrition to help us understand exactly why sleep is important and how to improve the quality of the sleep we’re getting.
Why is Sleep so Important?
Think of your body like your beloved smartphone (are you reading this on it right now?) Throughout the course of the day you use multiple apps and crunch through tons of data. Consequently, the battery depletes. Just like us, we have multiple daily tasks to accomplish and they leave us feeling tired. But we’d get through our to do list a lot faster and more effectively if we began the day on 100% charge, meaning we’d sustain a higher level of performance for longer.
Performance is generally categorised as how well we do something physical, however sleep is the saviour for mental performance too. Right now while you’re sitting at home on lockdown 3.0 we imagine you’re not all that worried about how fast you can run but you might be concerned about how long you can focus for at your makeshift desk. When we get good quality sleep, we’re better decision makers, the frontal lobe of our brain is functioning better, we’re sharper and we’re at our best cognitively. It sounds pretty good to us.
Whether we want to get into better shape or perform more effectively in everyday life, it’s simple: poor sleep holds us back, quality sleep helps us excel.
How to Sleep Better
Worrying about not sleeping can be a really easy to interrupt your sleep (go figure!) and no one can blame you for struggling to shut your eyes as we’re living through an unprecedented time. However there are some really simple steps to help you get better quality sleep even now.
Go To Bed Earlier
Lame right? After a childhood of enforced bedtimes it can be tempting even as a full grown adult to push the boundaries and stay up late watching TV. But going to bed just 30 or 40 minutes earlier can seriously improve your sleep, for example someone who usually got seven hours of sleep per night could increase that by 10% just by going to bed 40 minutes earlier. It might not sound like a lot but your body and mind will thank you for prioritising rest.
We know, we really are the fun police. We also know that the amount of time we’re all spending on our phones or looking at screens in general is skyrocketing while we’re being asked to stay at home. It might feel comforting to scroll through Instagram before you fall asleep but it’s impacting the quality of your snooze time and keeping you awake for longer. Try to avoid screens for 90 minutes before you go to bed and instead focus on relaxing; have a bath, read a book and fully unwind.
If you’re really struggling to drift off at night it might not be enough to put down your phone. There are plenty of supplements out there to help you drift off, for example PhD Nutrition’s ZMA capsules which promote healthy sleep as well as aiding recovery from exercise.