So how much sleep do you need? Experts now tell us we need an average of 7 hours a night and that it should take us between 7-10 minutes to fall asleep. Do you comply?
If you don’t, I would love you to try something. It is called the 7/11 technique and involves breathing in for 7 seconds and out for 11. Expand your stomach not your chest. If you cant manage 7/11 do 3/6. The key is to breathe out for longer than it takes to breathe in. By doing this you stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the bodies natural relaxation mechanism. This also works for stress, anxiety and panic attacks.
I’m currently studying this technique and would greatly appreciate your thoughts on its effectiveness. You can respond on Facebook or via my web site – Nathan Burke Consulting
Scientists have now proven that lack of sleep results in attention deficits, memory problems, mood disturbances and impaired mental and physical abilities. For athletes, there is the added problem of reduced decision making abilities, inability to take in and follow instructions as well as increasing the likelihood of injury.
Good sleep practices are not just for athletes. Here are 7 tips to make sure you stay on top of your game.
- Be consistent. Keeping your bedtime and wake up time consistent across all 7 days is important. A 3-hour sleep in on Saturday can push your sleep time back by two hours on Sunday night. Is it any wonder you’re tired and grumpy Monday morning? Sleep-ins create body clock disruptions that you will pay for later on.
- Routines are good. It is best to establish a bedtime routine so your body knows when it is time to shut down. We are creatures of habit so a nightly shower, reading a book, turning TV off at the same time all tell our body and mind that it is sleepy time. For kids there are apps such as Smiling Mind that can help them relax.
- Turn the clock around. Waking up and noticing that the clock says 3am will not help you get back to sleep. If anything it may make you worry more about getting back to sleep. If you have your alarm set that’s all you need to know. Don’t be a clock-watcher as it just increases stress that you don’t need.
- Get out of bed. If you haven’t fallen asleep after 30 minutes get out of bed and go into another room. Read a book or listen to light music until you fall sleepy, then try again. If you still can’t, it may be worth trying a different position such as on a couch.
- No naps. Taking a nana nap can be a great way to recharge your batteries. However, if you have chronic sleeping problems at night don’t sleep during the day as sleeping makes us less likely to want to sleep.
- No booze or coffee. We all know about coffee before bedtime but be aware of things that have caffeine in them such as chocolate, some medicines, tea and soft drink. Whilst many people swear by alcohol as a great way to nod off, they don’t understand how it negatively effects the second half of your sleep, not to mention the reduced blood sugar levels the next day leaving you additionally flat.
- Turn off the gizmos. The bright lights from your ipad, TV, phone etc suppress your melatonin levels and make it difficult to sleep, not to mention the stimulating content. NEVER check emails before you go to bed. What are you going to do about them between 10:30pm and 7am besides worry?
Recently I attended a seminar by a well known Child Psychologist who was asked the question ‘what is the first place you look when you are presented with an anxious child?’ The response was ‘sleep’ followed by ‘diet’.
I’m not sure why we should limit these two areas to our kids. What are your sleep patterns like, how is your diet?
For those who need help becoming a high performer we offer personal high performance coaching sessions online. There’s more to becoming a high performer than talent – so much more.