Improving Sleep Quality

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Not getting enough sleep?

Or maybe you are getting enough sleep, but you just not waking up feeling rested.

Watch this video and I’ll give you tips for improving sleep quality so that you can feel more rested and have more energy.

This is Ivana and I want to help you get fit, healthy and strong.

I’m an online fitness and nutrition coach and really I want to help people be healthier, have more energy, just feel good at any age.

Today I’m going to talk to you about sleep, which is a key part of our lives.

Improving sleep quality can affect every aspect of our lives.

The National Sleep Foundation says we should be getting about seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

And very few of us are doing that. I think the average is like six and a half hours. Even that sleep that we get is not always as restful and continuous as we might like it to be.

Today I’m going to share some tips for improving sleep quality.

Reduce Your Caffeine Intake In The Afternoon

Caffeine can easily stay in your system, in your blood, for eight hours after you’ve consumed it.

So ideally you’re going to be finishing your caffeine around three to 4:00 PM in the afternoon.

I generally, I’m fairly sensitive to caffeine and I don’t drink coffee. I just drink teas.

Coffee just doesn’t agree with my stomach, so I tend to finish around three o’clock. I set that as my limit.

I know it’s difficult cause you want to have some energy later on in the day, but it really will affect your sleep later on even though you don’t think that it will if you have a coffee at like five or 6:00 PM or even like some people have it after dinner, which is crazy to me. Uh, it will affect your sleep even if you’re not aware of it.

So reduce that caffeine intake in the afternoon if your goal is improving sleep quality.

Exercise, But Not Too Close To Bedtime

Exercise on a regular basis helps you sleep better. Most people when they get into a workout routine, if they’ve been off for a while, noticed that they are sleeping better. Your muscles want to recover.

It helps you deal with stress, which can also make it easier to sleep. So definitely exercise, but ideally not within two to three hours of the time that you’re trying to sleep. Especially if you’re doing something like weight training session or you’re doing a hit session, like high intensity interval training, anything like that.

If you want to do something gentle like yoga, that’s fine, but try not to do the intense stuff late at night cause it can keep you wound up.

I remember when I was living in England and training and karate and competing internationally. We used to have sparring classes at nine o’clock at night. So from nine until 10:30, we used to fight. It was basically just fighting the whole time. So it’s pretty, it’s an intense session. It gets you pretty wound up.

And I used to walk home and then it would take me sometimes until one o’clock before I can kind of wind myself back down and try to get to sleep.

Gentle exercise is okay in the evening, but try to keep it low key so because otherwise it’ll interfere with your sleep.

Avoid Blue Light

We have started hearing a lot more about blue light that comes from your devices. So TVs and screens and of course phones, which most of us are pretty attached to.

These screens give off a blue light, which can interfere with melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for getting your body ready for sleep. So it’s recommended that you avoid blue light. So that means any screens, any devices for two to three hours before sleep.

Now this is a tricky one.

Sometimes I really struggle with this. I do a lot of work at night on my laptop (I have a five-year-old), so a lot of my best work happens when he’s asleep. I need to do that.

But let’s say at least an hour before you go to sleep, make sure that you cut yourself off from those devices. In that time you have a routine of other things you can do. For me, I end up doing folding laundry in the evening, which is pretty boring, but it is something that’s easy.

You’re avoiding blue light and you’re just kind of in a relaxed state. So try to get off your devices earlier in the evening.

Have A Sleep Schedule

I know it’s tempting to try to catch up on sleep on the weekends, but your body does function better when it’s going to bed and waking up at the same time. So ideally you’re going to keep that pretty consistent between the weekdays and the weekend.

If you have young kids, they probably keep you on an early schedule anyway.

At least that’s what I found. I don’t get to sleep in as much as I used to.

Try To Go To Bed And Wake Up At The Same Time

It is tempting to try to squeeze in, you know, some extra time on the weekend, but it can actually make you feel worse.

And there’s actually, I think they actually have a term for it. It’s like a Monday hangover. Just like a having too much sleep over the weekend. You can actually feel worse on Monday and sometimes on Sunday you can just feel really, really sluggish if your sleeping and on that day as well. So try to maintain the same schedule throughout the week. And now this is a pretty important one to prepare your bedroom.

Ideally you want a very quiet bedroom.

You want it to be as dark as possible.

You don’t even want the glow of an alarm clock, even small lights that are coming from any devices. The room should be as dark as possible.

And you also want to be mindful of things like your mattress.

Is your mattress way too old?

Do a need a more comfortable mattress?

Do you need a firmer mattress or a softer mattress?

So try to get something that’s suitable for you.

The same thing with a pillow and your sheets, making sure that everything is ideal for you.

The other thing that’s important is the temperature of the bedroom.

If a room is too warm, then it actually interferes with their sleep. You’re more likely to wake up frequently. I feel really bad for those of you in warm climates who don’t have air conditioning, it’s really hard. It really does interfere with your sleep.

There are different suggestions for bedroom sleep temperature. Somewhere around 20 degrees is sometimes recommended. That’s in Celsius. So I think that’s about 70 degrees Fahrenheit for you Americans. So if anything, you want it to be a little bit on the cooler side. That helps improve sleep and lets you stay asleep longer.

Don’t Eat Heavy Meals

So within three hours of going to sleep, ideally you’re not having any food at all. Some people can tolerate a very small snack right before, but if you eat a heavy meal, your body is going to be busy digesting and you’re gonna have a harder time going into a deeper sleep.

For those of us like myself who suffer from acid reflux, having a heavy meal will cause all that food. When you lie down, all that food is going to just come up and you’re going to start to feel discomfort. Um, for me, I get coughing as well. So that’s the acid reflux.

You want to avoid having heavy meals, especially within those two to three hours before bed.

Relax Before Bed

In that final hour it’s good to have some sort of routine that you go through.

Things like I’m reading (as long as long as you’re not on a device of course) or having a bath or just meditating. That’s a great time to kind of do a little bit of relaxation. Maybe you enjoy journaling, something like that.

If you have someone around who’s willing to have sex with you, I also recommend that in the evening. So that’s a great way to relax as well.

Anything that kind of gets you ready for sleep and gets you a little bit more relaxed, it’s good to have that kind of routine.

Thanks very much for watching my video today about improving sleep quality.

Ivana Chapman

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 5-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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