Sleep to Win
You need both a high quality and proper quantity of the good ole' shuteye to perform your best!
We all know we need sleep to carry out our daily activities more successfully. However, few of us actually practice what we preach when it comes to this area. We stay up late watching late night TV or reading; and while I?m a big advocate of reading, sometimes behaviors such as these are detrimental to your workouts and general health. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
So, how much sleep do you need? Studies continuously tell us that the optimum amount of sleep for most people is between 7-9 hours. Yet, hardly any of us get this amount on a consistent basis. Additionally, many of us put too much emphasis on the quantity of sleep rather than the quality. Analogous to a <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
The quantity of sleep is easily identified, so I will start here. Basically, it?s the time you ?fall? asleep to the time you wake up. Since it?s so easy to define, the quantity of sleep can be simple to improve: you either go to bed earlier, or wake up later. Both sides of this equation can be changed with one simple step- organization! Think of how klutzy you can be in the morning. You fumble around your house, stubbing your toes on the corners that have been there for years. It takes a bit longer to perform even simple tasks like finding the right color socks. Consider organizing the things you need to get out the door in the morning in the evening, when you are more awake and productive. Set out your clothes, pack your workout bag and organize your work materials before you go to bed. Yes, this might take a few extra minutes and cause you to get to sleep later, but I bet you get double that amount of time on the ?wake up? end.
What the heck is ?Sleep Hygiene??!
Quality of sleep is just as important. In order to improve your sleep quality, think about improving your sleep ?hygiene?. Just like your everyday hygiene, your sleep hygiene is an important aspect to general health. Make sure the room you sleep in is dark, well ventilated, and slightly cold. Invest some time and money into a quality mattress, comfortable pillows and sheets. These items are generally overlooked when trying to improve sleep. Sometimes, just getting a new pillow can literally add hours of quality sleep each week. Additionally, consider getting a white noise machine or a CD with full, rich sounds to help put you to sleep. This is especially helpful if you live near a busy street where traffic provides annoying sounds that might disturb you.