Monday, September 05, 2011

5 Tips to Getting Quality Sleep

I continue to be fascinated by the research on restoration, but more specifically, how quality sleep contributes to improved human performance. One person whose career I've followed for years is tennis star Serena Williams. She's getting older, and thus, can't simply rely on power and athleticism to defeat her opponents. She recently brought conditioning coach Mackie Hilstone on her training team and is seeing great results. One area of his focus- like mine- is on improving one's quality of sleep. Check out his top 5 tips below:
  • Have a Consistent Bedtime – Whether it is during the week or on a weekend, go to bed at the same time. This will ensure that you are in the habit of having a consistent sleep pattern.
  • Limit Caffeine – You should limit the amount of caffeine you have throughout the day, but definitely do not have it within a few hours of your designated bedtime. The effects of caffeine may in fact keep you awake well past your bedtime.
  • Exercise – It is better to exercise earlier in the day and not too close to bedtime. Daily exercise when done consistently can help promote the body’s need for rest, but a boost in energy right before bed may keep you awake.
  • Reduce Stress – Stress can inhibit one’s ability to “turn off the mind” and fall asleep. If you are experiencing stress that causes you to stay awake, consider stress-reducing breathing exercises, yoga during the day, or make an effort to eliminate the root of the stress.
  • Have a Comfortable Sleeping Environment – Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleeping by controlling the temperature, keeping it dark and eliminating noise that may wake you up.

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