Do you struggle with falling asleep, or find yourself tossing and turning your way through the night? If so, you’re definitely not alone. In our 24/7 world, sleep has become increasingly challenging, a fact that’s true even for professional athletes. (A recent study revealed that one in four elite athletes suffer from significant sleep problems, and a shocking 10% of the population suffer from ongoing insomnia.)¹
Beyond impacting athletic performance, sleep deprivation has serious consequences on overall health and wellness, making people more prone to chronic conditions like hypertension, depression, obesity, diabetes, reduced quality of life and productivity.
When you find yourself constantly battling fatigue, reaching for sugar or caffeine instead of being productive, it’s a good sign it’s time to make some adjustments to your sleep schedule. How can you do that? We’ve put together a few tips to get your best night’s sleep, gleaned from athletes in our GQ-6 community - including Olympic medalists and executives balancing work, life and family. While some may seem like commonsense, we challenge you to commit to these six tricks for at least two months and see how better sleep works for you.
You’ve heard it before: go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, and aim for between seven to 10 hours of sleep. But really, it makes a difference. It also helps to have a bedtime routine that prepares you for sleep.
The blue light emitted from our computer and phone screens suppresses the production of melatonin - the sleep-inducing hormone - more than any other wavelength.²
Most devices have a “night shift” mode that you can enable that will reduce the amount of blue light during evening hours. But still, for optimal sleep, aim to turn off computers, tablets and smartphones 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.
Turn off artificial lights, cool down the temperature and create an environment that is good for sleep whenever possible. The ideal sleep environment will vary for different people, but similar to your sleep routine, create a surrounding that puts your body and mind at ease and ready for a restful night of sleep.
When you travel, allow yourself time to adjust to a different time zone and new surroundings. This means going to bed a little earlier to give yourself time to wind down and get accustomed to a different sleep environment. Professional athletes are constantly dealing with changes in their environment as they travel for competition and team camps, and often find that using melatonin (like GQ-6 Rēküvr) helps keep their body on a healthy schedule.
We know that a late afternoon coffee may seem like the only thing that can get you through the day, but it could also be what is keeping you from a quality night of sleep and perpetuating an unhealthy sleep cycle. Try a walk, some fresh air or drink more water instead of more caffeine.
² Why Is Blue Light Bad for You
Scientific American (2016)
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