My class members often tell me how they have their best night’s sleep after going to their Pilates class.
Sleep is so important for our body’s to function properly. It helps with energy levels, concentration, the immune system, memory, weight loss but it’s often undervalued and many of us are sleep deprived. Either we’re rushing around to get everything done and end up sleeping late and waking early to fit everything in. Or we’re so stressed and distracted with being busy that when it comes to sleeping, we just can’t nod off!
Here are some tips to help you improve the quality of your sleep. Pick a couple to start with a see if you can add into your day.
1/ Reduce caffeine after 12 o’clock noon – try camomile or peppermint tea rather than decaff tea as this still contains some caffeine.
2/ Avoid alcohol in the evening. Even though it can help some people sleep it’s often a cause of disturbed sleep – of course socialising in the evening or at the weekend can sometimes involve alcohol. Just be aware of the amount you have during the week.
3/ Turn off your computer/tv/ipad/mobile phone at least 2 hours before you intend to sleep because the bright light stimulates your brain keeping you more alert.
4/ Create an ideal sleep environment with a dark and quiet room.
5/ Try to keep to a regular sleep time throughout the week and wake up at the same time every day – even at the weekend.
6/ Find sunlight first thing in the morning to help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm – try going for a morning walk or have your tea break outside.
7/ Create a bedtime routine to help you unwind before trying to sleep – try reading a book, stretching, listening to relaxing music, having a bath, listen to a sleep story (see Tip 9).
8/ Exercise regularly. The number of studies showing the link between regular exercise and a better night’s sleep are numerous – Walking, swimming and gym all count but try to keep any intense exercise to the early evening. Pilates, yoga and stretching are ideal to do before bed.
9/ Meditation and deep breathing can help you to relax before going to sleep and can also be a useful tool if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night – Try an app on your phone for guided meditation. Calm has some free meditations, relaxing music and also sleep stories which I’ve found particularly useful.