I do not really know if I am a morning person or wake up early because my work demands me to do so. My day starts anywhere between 5.30- 6.30 am and on most days I wakeup before the sound of the alarm going on. This is a good sign, meaning my body has got enough rest and is ready to take on the next day stronger.
There have been weeks in the past though that I would wake up sick and sluggish. Mostly after my alarm rang and I had put it on snooze as long as possible till I would finally wake- up and had to rush to work.
These tips however have helped me a huge deal and some of you might find them helpful too! Remember, recovery is part of the process in achieving your goals. A good night’s sleep means less cortisol (the stress hormone) activity and less stubborn fat the body hold’s onto. Besides, it keeps your skin vibrant and shining and your energy levels high. Good sleep is not really measured by quantity but quality. I often sleep no more than 6- 7 hours and some night’s of the week even as little as 5-6 hours. But that does not say much about how I wake up feeling. The quality of sleep I get determines how I am feeling the next day.
These tips might help you a little bit to get some quality sleep and help you recover better.
- Go to bed only when physically (not mentally) exhausted: See if you can schedule your workout around evening or even a quick brisk walk post dinner is a good idea. I generally like to clean my room, put my laundry away etc. post dinner for about 30- 40 minutes before finally hitting the bed. Avoid technology during this time but some good soft music playing. The activity you choose should be mundane and not trigger a lot of thinking/ chaos in the mind. Even if I schedule a workout, its only because fitness is a form of meditation to me. I zone out of the world listening to music on the floor. But wont a workout energise you before bed? Not necessary- just don’t take a pre workout or caffeine please. A good warm shower post workout will actually put you to sleep.
- Eat well (yes, I mean carbs) for your last meal: Keep this meal low fat and high carbs with moderate easy digesting proteins. You do not want anything fatty and greasy that will make you feel sick for this meal. Food that you eat last will digest overnight and while you are sleeping, your system is working digesting the food. You do not want something very hard to digest as this will mean a disturbed sleep. Animal derived protein is the hardest to digest and this should be completely avoided. White rice with well cooked lentils (daal/ sambhar) are easy and make an excellent choice for your last meal. Just do not over eat or eat too close to your bedtime. Try and keep a gap of at least 90 minutes between dinner and bedtime. Eat till you are still just a tad bit hungry for this last meal instead of over eating. Smoothie is another fantastic option for this meal especially since its in liquid form and easy to digest. But will fruits late night make you fat?- No. Just like green tea wont make you thin, fruits wont make you fat. Over eating and under training however will.
- Watch or read: For me its either the latest book I am reading (or audio book I am listening to) or watching the weekly growth session from Infinipath. I read/ watch till I am about sleep (within 10- 15 minutes) and then immediately fall asleep. I used to watch Netflix or YouTube videos before but realised that my brain only got more active instead of quietening down. Of course meditation is another great option and does not really have to be rocket science. Just sit comfortably in a calm and quiet place and let your mind run whatever thoughts it wants to. Don’t try to stop the thoughts but mere observe them like an outsider. Slowly (and over time), the thoughts will start to quiet till you have a state of no thoughts. Bad sleep is almost always related to a stressed mind and the moment you calm your thoughts, you can see improvement. Realistically, circumstances might not be under your control but you will have to do whatever little you can to de- stress.
- Stay away from technology: My phone and social media are on silent at least 30- 45 minutes before my sleep time. Technology will create distractions and increase brain activity keep you up and leaving you more stressed. Sure if you are in a new relationship mid- night conversations are everything but new love birds don’t really complain about lack of sleep ;). Basically switch meaningless whatsapp messages, scrolling through facebook or watching endless IG stories off at night. It is doing you no good and will stress you out keeping you awake at night.
- Cuddle: Like seriously. Well you don’t have to have a significant other really and you don’t even have to ‘cuddle’ really. Let me explain. I am single AF and sleep by myself but on weeks I have been over stressed with work and not able to sleep enough I prefer sleeping with my sister or mom. We don’t cuddle but just having someone in the same room is comforting and I sleep much better. If you have a partner, great! Or find a family member, pet, soft toy, favourite blanky, anything! I am talking about just having the feeling of someone or something being around you that is comforting. We are humans and humans need to feel comforted. Trust me on what a huge difference it will make to your sleep quality.
Of course there are so many many other tips out there like herbal infusion tea’s at night and nightly sleep ritual to follow etc but these tips have really helped me and changed the quality of my sleep. Hope you find them helpful too!
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