Seven habits of highly effective sleepers

By Eoin Everard Physiotherapy

THERE’S nothing more frustrating than a bad night’s sleep.
Next day its coffee and trying to feel good.
There are simple things you can do to help you have more energy for sport, work and life.

1. Proactive
How many people do you hear complaining of tiredness day-to-day?
A lot, but how many are doing something about it?
What separates highly effective sleepers from the fatigued is approach to sleeping.
Not everyone is lucky enough to fall soundly asleep as soon as heads hit the pillow.
It takes commitment, routine and the practice of good sleep hygiene.
You need to address lifestyle choices.
Get a supportive mattress, clear your bedroom of distraction, go to bed at a reasonable hour, be proactive.

2. Effective circadian rhythm
Effective sleepers master their circadian rhythm – they know what sleep they need.
The optimum amount of sleep for adults aged 18-64 is 7-9 hours, says The National Sleep Foundation.
Sleep expert Michael Breus says the average sleep cycle for any individual is around 90 minutes. We require five such cycles each night.
Aim to stick to wake-up and sleep times as this helps to establish an effective circadian rhythm (internal clock).
Consistent sleep is key to avoiding daytime tiredness. It promotes healthy hormone balance, increases energy levels and allows time for recovery.
You’ll notice dramatic improvements by adopting a regular sleep pattern.

3. Smartphones
Scrolling is a bad habit that many poor sleepers can admit to . Like sleeping in front of the TV, the artificial blue light that emanates from your phone is damaging your sleep/wake patterns.
It tricks the brain into thinking its morning and interferes with melatonin production.
Melatonin does more than help us fall asleep – without it you’re more vulnerable to disease and depression. Switch off all technology.

4. Eat right things
How you fuel your day is critical to determining how well
you’ll sleep.
By grazing on sugar-filled chocolate bars that spike insulin levels and leave you sleepy when you shouldn’t be, you promote inconsistency and find yourself more inclined to nap, which leads to disrupted sleep.
Guzzle coffee after 9-5 and you won’t be able to switch off.
Steer clear of high-fat and sugar-rich foods. Same goes for alcohol, spicy dishes and caffeine.
Stock up with sleep-friendly foods. The tryptophan content of wholegrain carbs and foods such as turkey and cottage cheese, help curb late-night hunger pangs by stimulating serotonin/melatonin that regulate your sleep/wake patterns.
Try snacking on a small portion of bread or crackers an hour before sleep. Camomile tea, honey, almonds and kiwi fruit are also said to do the trick.

5. Avid readers
Highly effective sleepers love to read. They switch off all electrical devices 1-2 hours before hopping into bed and enjoy a book.
A wind down process is very important to achieving a good night’s rest. It tells the body you’re ready to relax.
You immerse yourself in worlds far away from your own; removing worries and enabling you to de-stress.
It only takes six minutes reading time to reduce the heart rate/tension in muscles, which helps you to relax.

6. Appreciate sunshine
Locking yourself away for 8 hours a day in a lightless office can also impact quality of sleep.
By not getting sufficient sunlight, you confuse your body clock and disrupt your natural sleep/wake patterns.
A study presented at the 27th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC, revealed the need for sunlight.
Comparing the sun-seeking habits of 49 different day-shift workers; 27 in windowless workplaces and 22 in workplaces with windows, they found that employees exposed to natural light had a better night’s sleep and slept an average of 46 minutes more, says Forbes.
Workers with windows also proved to be more active in the day.
Don’t eat lunch at your desk and embrace a little sunshine.

7. Meditate
A study led by Havard Medical Health agrees that by focusing on moment-by-moment experiences, thoughts, and emotions through mindful meditation, you approach day-to-day challenges more pragmatically.
A series of simple breathing techniques can help you relax. Health expert and best-selling author, Dr Weil advocates the ‘4-7-8’ breathing technique in which you inhale for four seconds, hold for seven, then exhale for eight.
Repeat this process
three times. For info about Eoin Everard and
Sports Pilates at

Previous When you get a kick out of golf
Next Love, Love, Love: All You Need is Love