Throughout a season it can be easy to start shaving time off your sleep due to late nights socialising and early mornings to catch the first chair on pow days!
A poor night’s sleep often results in exhaustion the next day. You may feel a severe lack of focus and reduced cognitive function, which can be extremely dangerous with a board is strapped to your feet. Sleep is crucial to optimising your health and powering the brain. You need to be at your full potential due to the concentration demands when snowboarding.
All Important Sleep
Tips To Get More Restful Sleep
Implementing small changes in your diet and habits is the perfect way to improve the quality of your snooze. Below are some ideas on how to obtain restful nights sleep to power your performance on the slopes!
1. Melatonin Supplement
The hormone melatonin is produced in your pineal gland and is naturally secreted more at night time. It plays a crucial role in your sleep cycle and aids in the control and regulation of your bodies internal clock. The presence of melatonin signals to your body that its time to sleep. Higher levels of melatonin will help you get a deeper and more restful sleep. Take your supplement of choice 30 minutes to an hour before bed.
2. Screen Down-Time
Try not to watch TV or look at computer and smartphone screens within 30 minutes of going to sleep. Blue light emitted from these devices slows and stops the production of melatonin which is fundamental for sleep. You can now even download apps which contain blue light filters to cut out the harmful effects.
3. Avoid Coffee And Alcohol Before Bed
Try to steer clear of caffeine after dinner time otherwise, you will be left staring at the ceiling unable to sleep. Studies have found it actually sets back your body clock by up to an hour. Alcohol limits your ability to obtain deep and lengthy REM sleep which is essential to waking up feeling refreshed and recovered.
Good Food, Long ZZZs
4. Foods Containing Tryptophan
Our brain uses the amino acid tryptophan to produce chemicals that are crucial for inducing sleep. Everyone knows that at Thanksgiving and Christmas, turkey makes you really sleepy! This is because turkey is loaded with tryptophan.
Tryptophan and other amino acids contained in protein, have to compete together to reach the brain. This means that while trying to boost tryptophan foods in your diet, you should try to lower the consumption of other protein types.
Healthy Food Ideas Containing Tryptophan:
- Pumpkin / Sunflower seeds
5. Load Up On Magnesium Rich Foods.
The mineral magnesium has an essential role in our sleep cycle. Studies involving rats showed that a lack of magnesium resulted in a dramatic reduction in their deep sleep cycle.
Key magnesium foods:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Mixed nuts
- Wheat / oat bran and brown rice
It’s easy to make small changes and reap big benefits
6. High Glycemic Index Foods, Four Hours Before Bed.
The measure of how fast blood sugar increases after eating a specific food, is known as the glycemic index (GI). Foods that measure high on the glycemic index scale raise blood sugar quickly. Corn, bananas and white rice are a few examples of foods with a high GI. Studies have shown that consuming foods with a high GI, round about 4 hours before bed can aid how quickly you fall asleep.
Be careful not to eat a meal or foods with a high glycemic index within an hour before bed, as this can actually keep you awake.
7. Foods With Less Fat.
There are a wealth of studies to prove that people with diets high in saturated fats suffer from less sleep. Having a diet with healthy / lean fats is much more suitable to free yourself of sleep deprivation.
8. Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep? Consider Protein Vs Carbs.
Some people find themselves having difficulty falling asleep and others find themselves able to quickly fall asleep but wake up many times throughout the night.
Research has shown that a diet rich in carbohydrates can decrease the time taken to fall asleep. If you’re tossing and turning, lying awake after hitting the pillow, reconsider your body’s carbohydrate intake.
If you find yourself waking up frequently throughout the night, studies show that a diet high in protein can help to deepen and make your sleep cycle longer.
Take Back The Night
Many people in office jobs or work where they are not physically active for long periods find difficulty sleeping. This is because the mind is exercised throughout the day but the body is not. The body holds energy when it’s not being used, which transforms into restlessness and frustration. Exercising daily to tire your body as well as your mind is an essential tool to battle off insomnia and help you fall asleep quickly.
Check out the amazing infographic from sleep and performance specialist Cheri Mah on the importance of sleep and athletic performance. Click to enlarge and zoom in.