Sleeping is one of the most effective things we can do to restore brain and body health every day. It is also very important in the rehabilitation process following an injury because it helps in the process of tissue repair.
Here are 4 practical tips to help you maximize your sleep. The first 3 being the easiest to do, the last will get you the most bang for your buck!
1. Avoid drinking coffee within 12 hours of sleeping
In our brain, there are molecules (adenosine) that accumulate during the day and help us fall asleep by making us feel tired. Caffeine disrupts this natural buildup and makes us feel awake by blocking its effect. It can take up to 12 hours to eliminate the majority of caffeine in our system!
Tip: It’s best to avoid drinking coffee in the afternoon or evening.
2. Expose yourself to sunlight
Sunlight helps regulate our circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is like the internal clock of the human body. It is a biological rhythm taking the form of a cycle of approximately 24 hours and governs certain physiological processes such as sleep and hunger. It is through this internal clock that our body releases the hormones that make us hungry, keep us awake or make us feel sleepy. Daylight is essential to regulate this internal clock.
Tip: Try to go outside for at least 30 minutes every day. If possible, wake up with sunlight or use very bright lights in the morning.
3. Avoid screens before sleeping
Screens, such as television and cellular screens, project light similar to the light emitted by sunlight. Exposing yourself to the light of your screens in the evening or at night can trick the brain into thinking it’s daytime and delay the release of hormones that generate sleep. Putting a blue light filter on cell phones or tablets can help control the harmful effect of its lights if it is necessary to watch screens late at night.
Tip: Avoid exposing yourself to screens at least 2 hours before sleeping.
4. Be active every day
Many studies have explored the link between exercise and sleep, with most finding that physical activity improves sleep quality and duration. It takes as little as 5 minutes of physical activity a day to reap the benefits! Also, better sleep allows us to have more energy which makes it easier to be more active!
However, care must be taken not to do intense physical activity just before sleeping, as this could interfere with sleep.
Tip: Do 10 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a day. Avoid strenuous physical activity within 2 hours of sleeping
The intensity of physical activity being very variable from one person to another, we advise you to see your physiotherapist to have a plan adapted to your condition and your needs!