REST UP AND RESTORE
Both quality and quantity are essential when it comes to sleep, and a deprivation of either will have immediate and lasting effects on your health and fitness. Keep disruption to a minimum with these simple hacks
TURN OFF TECH Checking Facebook at bedtime will impact the quality of your sleep – and not just because you saw a spoiler for Game of Thrones. It’s a nobrainer that time wasted reading what so-and-so had for dinner would be better spent on shut-eye, but bright lights from screens also disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, throwing sleep cycles out of kilter and sending your brain into overdrive when you turn out the lights. CUT OUT CAFFEINE Caffeine acts on your brain by blocking adenosine – a neurotransmitter – from binding to cells. Adenosine slows down cell activity; by blocking it, caffeine causes cells to become active, hence it keeps you awake. You should avoid it in the afternoon, too, as that activity will have a number of side effects; according to research by FitnessGenes, this includes increased blood pressure, anxiety and sleep problems. WARM UP Before you crawl into bed, consider washing away the day; having a warm shower just before bedtime will help to slow down certain metabolic functions, such as your heart rate, breathing and digestion. It also lowers your body temperature, which puts you in a prime state for sleeping – and that good quality rest will help your muscles to recover from training much more efficiently.