Sleep Better. Forget smart drugs. The single best way to enhance your cognitive powers and become more focussed is to get more sleep. And forget supplements, the single best way to accelerate your muscle gains and improve your strength is to get more sleep. There are countless articles out there that detail ‘life hacks’ and other strategies you can use to sleep better.
These range between lying on spikey mats (which is nonsense), to taking ZMA (which doesn’t do much), to eating honey before bed (which might just be helpful but is negligible). More efficient then is to look at some small, simple changes you can make to your routine that will have a major impact on the quality and quantity of your sleep. There’s that ‘kaizen’ again!
Number one: Take a hot shower or bath before bed. This helps to encourage the production of growth hormone and melatonin and it also helps to relax the muscles – far more effectively than taking valerian root. As your body cools down, you’ll sink into a much deeper and more restorative sleep and you’ll also save yourself time in the morning.
Number two: Open the window ajar. We sleep much better when our environment is slightly cool. Let some cool air into your room but make sure you can keep warm with your duvet.
A Better Sleep
Number three: Go for a run or walk in the morning that day. Getting more exercise helps you sleep more, as does getting fresh air and vitamin D. You can also supplement with vitamin D in the morning – if you live in the UK like me then there’s a good chance you’re deficient.
Number four: Take half an hour or even just 15 minutes before bed to wind down and do some reading. Avoid looking at mobile screens or computers if possible, as the light from these increases cortisol production.
I experimented with wearing blue-blocking shades before bed for a while but truth be told, you look like a nob and it’s pretty impractical – especially if you’re in a relationship. Taking a little while out to ‘unwind’ will help you forget the stresses of the day while getting your body into a good ‘sleep mode’.
Number five: Most important of all is simply to prioritize your sleep and to give it the attention it deserves. Stop watching YouTube videos until 2 am in the morning and start getting into a routine.
Number six: Of course you also need to look after the environment you’re sleeping in. Comfortable pyjamas and duvet covers, along with curtains that actually block out the light and an absence of blinking LEDs will make a huge difference.