Since it is Mental Health Awareness month, let’s talk about creating healthy sleep habits. Sleep is an overlooked topic on health and essential for your brain!
There are things you can do to improve your chances for a more restful sleep.
- eliminating screen time 60 minutes before bed
- reading a book
- limiting alcohol and sugar before bedtime
- having a regular exercise routine
Research has shown that higher use of screen time before bed is associated with poor sleep quality, reduced sleep duration and a delay in onset of sleep. Research article here. Try turning off your devices at least 60 minutes before bedtime and reading a book. Come up with a routine that will help you wind down each night.
Alcohol and sugar have also been linked to poor sleep quality. A cold beer is nice after a ride but make sure you aren’t overdoing it. Research by Dr. Michael D. Stein, MD and Dr. Peter D. Friedmann, MD, MPH reviewed 107 studies that suggested alcohol use and sleep disturbance are related. Research article here.
Another study examined the relationship between poor diet and sleep quality. The conclusion was that “poor sleep quality was associated with greater food intake and lower‐quality diet, which can increase cardiovascular disease risk.” Research article here.
Rather than being a “weekend warrior,” create a regular exercise routine. If starting this habit is a challenge for you, I recommend reading the book ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. In the book he describes how important it is to just “show up” to your routine, even if it’s only for two minutes. Get in the habit of showing up and then move forward with your exercise goals. Having a regular routine will not only give you an outlet but will help boost endorphins and help you sleep better.
It can be easy to get caught in the trap of poor diet (convenience/quick food), alcohol consumption (to deal with stress), and screen time (checking messages/social media). However, this lifestyle will only lead to burnout and disease. Take care of yourself and make that a priority this summer. A healthy you is going to be more efficient in your work, more recovered to ride stronger, and less stressed. Make it your goal to create healthy sleep patterns!