HOW TO SLEEP LIKE AN OLYMPIAN

Nick Lit­tle­hales takes snooz­ing se­ri­ously. We quiz the sleep coach to Team GB and au­thor of ‘Sleep’ (Pen­guin, £9.99) on his top tips for us mere mor­tals

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Style Sleep -

Find out your chrono­type A chrono­type is what kind of sleeper you are – essen­tially a morn­ing or evening per­son. For a di­ag­no­sis, Lit­tle­hales rec­om­mends tak­ing the Mu­nich Univer­sity Ques­tion­naire ( bioinfo.mpg.de). Once you find out your type, you can learn to jug­gle your day to bet­ter suit it.

Think in terms of mar­ginal gains

This is the tech­nique used to im­prove elite sports­peo­ple’s per­for­mance us­ing tiny ad­just­ments. For ex­am­ple, try to sleep on your non-dom­i­nant side ( left­ies on their right etc.), or in­vest in hy­poal­ler­genic bed­ding. Try a ‘zone out’ pe­riod ‘Call it a nap and you won’t get any­where – think of it as a recharge mo­ment,’ ad­vises Lit­tle­hales. This can be 15 min­utes of star­ing out of the win­dow or a walk, but no screen-watch­ing. Ma­nip­u­late day­light ‘Sched­ule your life­style around hours of day­light,’ sug­gests Lit­tle­hales. Dur­ing win­ter, he cham­pi­ons dawn-wake sim­u­la­tors to help you wake up to a faux sun­rise. It will raise lev­els of the awak­en­ing hor­mone sero­tonin. Don’t lie-in at week­ends If you are a ‘Pm-er’, you spend the week ad­just­ing your nat­u­ral body clock to start at 9am. ‘Throw this out at the week­end and you’ll get what we call so­cial jet-lag come Mon­day,’ says Lit­tle­hales (sport­sleep­coach.com).

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