At Physioprescription, we aren’t all about sore backs and ankle sprains – now and then we need to go off on a little tangent for the things that can make a huge difference to your body.
If you want to know how to sleep better, you have come to the right place. Below are 4 solid, research based changes that you can make to improve your body all-round.
Give it a shot
1. Soft tissue work – massage
Working out tight muscles can really help to decrease stress hormones and make you more relaxed = improved sleep.
There are a few easy ways to do this, you can use a foam roller and roll out your legs, back and shoulders for 5 minutes or your can grab a ball (tennis, lacrosse etc) and do the same thing. Or you can ask someone to give you a rub down if you are lucky enough!
2. Eat right
Leading up to bed time, you need to fuel your body right. Consuming the most popular drug in the world – caffeine, blocks sleep inducing chemicals and increases adrenaline, making it very hard for you to sleep. On top of that it’s effects can last for a few hours so no coffee three hours before bed.(3)
The second eating tip (I know the 1st was on drinking!) is to eat more low glycemic index food for dinner (or pre-bed snacks). Low GI means that it breaks down slowly – meaning your body is fueled all night. Having low blood sugar at night-time means you wake up feeling tired and groggy and it also often causes headaches. So try swapping low GI foods (white bread, pasta, white rice etc) for low GI foods – check out this link if you need more info.
3. Minimize the aggravators
As much as possible, minimize night-time stimulants such as light and sound to have a more restful sleep – There are many ways to do this so get creative.(1)
Breathing is the most constant and necessary activity we do. It is not only the fundamental act that provides us with oxygen, but the manner in which we breathe is linked with the well-being of every body system. Many of us, breathe inefficiently, taking shallow breaths using our chest muscles rather than our diaphragm (2)
Breath to improve sleep – Try breathing in your nose, and out pursed lips, nice and slowly. When breathing in, breathe in first with your diaphragm (tummy breathing) and then your rib cage. The ratio you should try breathing at is for every second you breathe in, you should be taking two to breathe out – e.g. breathe in for 3 seconds and out over 6 seconds. For more information, check out this link – it’s a good breathing technique that was really helpful in improving my free-diving breathe hold.
Note: Don’t take as big a breathes as you can – This will cause you to get very dizzy!
Now that you now how to sleep better, why not try making a few changes and you will notice a real difference!