6 tips for a better sleep

Jacob Strøm

Jacob Strøm

Performance specialist. Cand.scient. Sports Science. 25+ certificates from EXOS, Barca Innovation Hub etc.

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"... you can sleep when you get old!" How many times have we heard it, or said it ourselves when work, training or other things have got in the way of our sleep?
6 tips for better sleep / how do I fall asleep quickly?

It is perhaps, one of the dumbest things you can do if you want to change how you look, perform better or have more energy!

Lack of sleep can lead to increased fatigue, increased appetite, increased risk of gaining weight, poorer performance, poorer memory, poorer learning ability and much more...

Here are 6 tips for a better sleep so you can reduce stress, improve your recovery, increase your fat burning, optimize muscle growth and finally look like you dream!

1. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day (including weekends)

Our hormones should run according to our circaidic rhythm - that is, when we get up and go to bed. The problem is that our sleep patterns are without patterns, and therefore our hormones 'can't keep up'. You know, for example, if you have super energy late at night but not in the morning.

The best 'trick' is to go to bed and get up at the same time every day - and yes, that goes for weekends too.

This will be hard at first, but believe me - your body will soon thank you! You'll have more energy throughout the day, your workouts will improve and your energy levels will increase. Conversely, you'll get tired faster in the evening, fall asleep faster and sleep better.

1.1 What happens if you don't get up at the same time is that you give your body 'jet lag'.

Let's say you get up at 07:00 on Friday morning, but don't get to bed until 23:30. You are tired and therefore sleep late on Saturday, maybe until 9am (certainly not unrealistic). Saturday night you are not tired, you watch a movie or go out and you don't sleep until 1:00, maybe later. This means that on Sunday, you sleep even longer and don't get up until 11:00.

It's Sunday night, and you know you have to get up again at 7am on Monday, so you stress to get to sleep in time, but you can't... You don't sleep until 1am, but you sleep fitfully, and the clock rings at 7am. Now you've only slept 6 hours, and have basically given your body jet lag. Exactly the same as if you had travelled through 3-4 time zones.

The week goes by, and only on Thursday you start to feel fresh again, but then it's the weekend and the same picture emerges...

If you have trouble falling asleep, have missing idea then go to bed and get up at the same time. Maybe with a little adjustment at the weekend so it could look like this:

You certainly don't have to get up that early, the above is just an example of what it could look like. If you go to bed later than planned, at least get up as planned!

Bonus: Did you know that if you press snooze (9 minutes) every day for a year, you'll have snoozed 3285 minutes or about 55 hours.

2. Sleep between 8 and 9 hours every night

This is closely related to the above, and many would argue that they only need 6 hours. The problem is that the vast majority have got used to having only 60-70% energy, and therefore don't realise they are tired...

One of the most important parameters when it comes to training, performance, body transformations, is recovery. And without any doubt - it is at night that we recover best! And this takes time.

It cannot be done optimally in 6 hours, but rather between 8-9 hours!

It may be that 9 hours is unrealistic at this point, but I bet that with a few changes, you can ALWAYS go to bed 15 or 30 minutes earlier, and therefore get a bit more sleep. Once this is in place, you can go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier again, and before you know it, going to bed earlier is a habit!

3. Turn off electronic equipment & minimize blue light

This one is again super simple, but super beneficial! Many people don't think about it, but the light from our phones, tablets and computers emits blue light, which stimulates our brain strongly. This may not do much during the day, but as it gets darker and we are supposed to secrete more melatonin and get tired, this light will prevent this and therefore keep us awake...

You may think you're relaxing and winding down on the sofa in front of the TV, but the light is disturbing your brain and the many events on the TV are also affecting your brain, giving you constantly to deal with. This requires concentration, not relaxation...

On your phone you can block bluelight and turn your screen yellow, the same you can on your computer and tablet. On iPhone there is a setting where you can do that. For Mac computers I recommend the application f.lux.

In addition - turn off electronic devices at 8pm (or 2 hours before bedtime), put your phone on airplane, dim the lights, relax, listen to quiet music and read a book if you like, so your brain naturally figures out that it's bedtime.

4. Darken your bedroom

When we sleep, we don't want to be disturbed so we can have a deep sleep. If we are affected by light, ours becomes more superficial and not so deep. Sure, we should sleep 8-9 hours, but it doesn't matter if our sleep isn't deep!

Also, it is MUCH harder to fall asleep if there is light in the bedroom.

Buy a blackout curtain today, not tomorrow, and put it up.

Research shows that a darker bedroom means better sleep - and better sleep is essential for better results!

5. Make a to-do list

What's the last thing you think about before you fall asleep?

Everything you have to do tomorrow, and everything you didn't do today... The best advice, and perhaps one of the most relaxing, is to make a to-do list, and keep it relatively short. Not only will this make you more efficient and ensure you achieve more during the day, it will also give you more peace of mind.

More rest, which you need when you're trying to fall asleep!

6. Breathe deeply and relax!

Meditation is difficult, but hugely rewarding and relaxing! More and more people are starting to use it and the results are wild. Not only does it help you relax, it also increases your heart rate variability (HRV), which is positive for increased relaxation. A low HRV (below 70) is a sign of increased stress, and inability to relax.

Get your HRV above 80, and almost automatically the 2 extra kg of fat will go and there will be more energy and surplus for your training!

If you lack energy, don't have the energy, aren't losing weight fast enough, aren't performing well enough on the court, this is the place to start - BEFORE all the other fancy techniques! Your sleep is crucial - perhaps the most important, so make it a priority!

Click here and read our post, where performance specialist Jacob Strøm, goes through which two hormones control your appetite.

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