Ever lay in bed at night staring at the ceiling as a million things about work run through your head? I’m like that too. A career in sports goes hand-in-hand with crazy hours and little sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that younger adults (18-25) should get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. As a 25-year-old female (26 this week, yikes!), I find it difficult to get the necessary hours of sleep. As I am sure many of you can relate.
Between my puppy waking up and crying at 5:00 a.m. every morning for a walk to returning from road trips well after midnight, it is extremely hard to find balance. I often joke with people that my brain doesn’t function for work until after 10:00 a.m. I usually show up to work on a non-game day around 9:30 a.m. and work until 5:15 p.m. I get home, take my dog for a walk/run and then make dinner. Most nights I decline invites from friends because all I want to do is relax.
Every other month I have to wean myself off of coffee because I build up such a tolerance that my high caffeine intake doesn’t affect me.
Here’s a few tips I have that help me stay well rested, even if it doesn’t involve physical sleep.
1. Dedicate an hour a day to reading.
Reading helps me relax. It doesn’t matter if I am reading physical book, an iPad or a Kindle. Reading stimulates your brain and can aid in continual brain development. Depending on what you choose you read it can take your mind off of things, further develop your career or wander off to a mystery land.
2. Drink a cup of tea.
Tea is a soothing relaxing drink. Many companies make a “sleep” specific tea, which promotes restful sleep and is obviously caffeine free. Two of my favorites are “Sleepytime” by Celestial and “Bedtime Story” by Lipton.
3. Light a candle.
I don’t know why but a candle flame is one of the most soothing things for me. I even keep a small candle at my desk for when I am feeling stressed although its totally against the fire code, whoops!
4. Take a bath.
Honestly what is better than a warm bath before bed? Although I haven’t taken many baths lately, it is typically a Sunday tradition for me. It’s my way of unwinding from the weekend and relaxing before another hectic week of work!
If you exercise on a daily basis it will help you sleep better at night. Exercise in the early morning to jump-start your day or after work to relieve some stress. Just make sure you aren’t working out too close to bedtime because your adrenaline will prohibit you from falling asleep for a few hours.
6. Get some sleep!
Yes. Set a reminder on your phone an hour before you wish to get to bed. Shower at night instead of the morning. Once you get in bed, put your phone down and switch it to Do Not Disturb. If you stay up scrolling on social media you will have more trouble falling asleep. Unless you absolutely need to fall asleep with TV on, turn it off! Condition your body to go to sleep when you lay in bed. Lastly, putting in ear plugs can help eliminate outside noise and hearing the rhythm of your own breathing can help relax you and fall asleep faster.
A last tidbit that I just learned as I’m writing this post, thanks Jenny Moss. Did you know apple in the morning or afternoon is more effective at giving you a burst of energy than a cup of coffee. Caffeine late in the day can affect your sleep as well. Plus, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Right?