Elite Feet

10 Easy Ways To Get a Better Night’s Sleep

man sleeping soundly

Runners know the importance of a good night's sleep. Rest is important not only for the next day's performance, but for long-term growth and conditioning. There's nothing worse than a 10-mile training run at 5:00am when you just fell asleep at 2:00am. The key to getting a good nights sleep is good habits. Here are some of the rules I follow to help ensure a complete night's rest.

  1. The bedroom is for sleeping. There is no watching tv, reading books, or any pre bedtime activities laying in bed. When I get into bed my body knows it is time to go to sleep. Because of this I will be out in less than 10 minutes. Most people including my wife says there is no way it can be done because their brain is just too active. This leads me to number two.
  2. Give yourself a half hour to an hour to wind down. Find something that relaxes you for the last part of the day before bed. Most people take care of all their tasks at night. Trying to get everything done right before bed. The National Sleep Foundation found that 60% of people do household chores right before bed. It would be better to find something that is more relaxing. You need a transition from an active day to a restful night.
  3. Get things done in the morning. Being a morning person is not a genetic thing, it is a trained way of life. Instead of doing chores at night, leave them until morning. In the morning you are rested and lacking all of the other distractions of the day. This is the perfect time to get up and run, do some laundry, or even get some work done. Your brain and body are fresh and will get more things accomplished than you ever would have during the same time frame at night.
  4. No caffeine after 2:00pm. Caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, the brain chemical that makes you sleepy. Just one cup will ruin a good night's sleep. Have a cup of coffee and you'll be getting up to urinate more often as well. If you do have something before bed make it the same thing every day. Having that drink will signal to your body that it's time to start winding down.
  5. Drink some milk and consume some carbs. There is a reason they say drink milk before bed. This little snack is not going to make you gain ten pounds but it will put you to sleep. Milk has tryptophan (just like turkey) but needs carbs to deliver it.
  6. Exercise. Those who exercise sleep better. People who do some form of regular exercise sleep an average of 42 minutes longer than those who don't and they falls asleep 12 minutes faster.
  7. Don't watch the news before bed. There is nothing on the news that is going to wind you down. The controversies, violence, and politics are only going to get you worked up.
  8. Live closer to work. The number one reason people say they don't get enough sleep is lack of time. Make more time by dropping your driving time.
  9. No alcohol before bed. Contrary to belief, alcohol doesn't relax you and actually makes for a lighter sleep. You'll be up at the slightest noise if you drink right before bed.
  10. Turn the thermostat down. People sleep better at cooler temperatures, and a nightly drop in temperature signals to your body that it is time for sleep.