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Top 5 tips to getting a great night sleep

Introducing Elizabeth Marin

Elizabeth is an exercise/sport scientist and nutritionist that has been working in elite sport for 15 years. Recently Elizabeth was appointed Wallabies sport scientist and nutritionist for the next two years for the lead up to 2019 Rugby Union World Cup. Her main role in the team is to monitor workloads of the players in training, in games, manage the nutrition on tour and to monitor the sleep of the players. With the help of Koala, Wallabies are using the high-end technology from fatigue science to monitor and provide feedback to players about their recovery everyday they are in camp and on tour.

Elizabeth’s top 5 tips to getting a great night sleep are the following;

Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.

Research has proven that if you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning you will end up having better quality sleep. It can take adjustment at first, but the body will recognise the routine and your sleep quantity and quality will improve. This also includes weekends and any other days off that you have. If you sleep-in one day it will disrupt this routine. We all have a sleep-in but just make sure to get back into the routine as soon as you can, so you can go back to getting amazing sleep.

Create a sleep routine for the hour leading into bed time.

If you set a routine in the hour prior to going to sleep it will assist the body to fall asleep faster. You can even set an alarm to let you know when to get into this sleep routine. This is something elite athletes do to ensure they get enough sleep. Here is an example of some of the things to do;

  • Turn off technology 1 hour before sleep
  • Warm shower assists the body in preparing to sleep
  • Dim the lights in the room you’re in
  • Do relaxing activities;
    • stretching
    • Mediation
    • family time
    • read a book.

Temperature and the sleep environment

Setting up the ultimate sleep environment will improve your sleep in dramatic ways. Here are some aspects to consider.

  • Use good shutters/ curtains to block out all the light.
  • Invest in a good bed. Koala mattresses makes it affordable to get a great bed. It is still important take good care of it and make sure to change every 7-10 years.
  • Invest in good pillows. The Koala pillow has the technology, make-up to cater for different sleeping positions and provide the best support for your neck and head at the same time.
  • Room Temperature – Ideal Temp is 19-21 Degrees.
  • Minimize noise

Importance of daylight to your sleep

Best thing we can do to get good sleep, is get as much sun light as we can in the day time. This all starts with getting sunlight as soon as we wake up. The exposure to sunlight ignites our hormones to start many processes in our body. This includes appetite, controlling our digestion, our immune system, blood pressure, fat utilization and mental energy.

Most importantly it brings on the production of serotonin. Serotonin is the main regulator of our internal clock, as well as bringing upon feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

A study compared office workers that had worked near windows and those that didn’t. They found that the workers that didn’t have sunlight got less exposure and therefore slept an average 46min less each night.

Workers with less sunlight reported more physical ailments, lower vitality and poorer sleep quality.

Workers that sat near the windows were more physically active and happier, and they had an overall higher quality of life.

 

Educate yourself about Sleep Cycles

Our sleep cycles last 90min. In a sleep cycle we go through different phases of sleep that help us restore all our body systems and feel refreshed for the next day. If you are waking up to an alarm and feel tired, even though you slept a good number of hours, it might be that your setting your alarm clock wrong. Look at what time you usually go to bed and then calculate your timing of your cycles (every 90min). From here work out what time you need to wake up and set an alarm, so you wake up at the end of a cycle. You will surprise yourself of how much better you will feel.

Here is a guide, if you aim to fall asleep at 10pm the best times to set your alarm are; 5:30am for 5 cycles,

7am for 6 cycles,

8:30am for 7 cycles.

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