Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is as essential to our daily needs like food and water. Although we may feel that sleep simply rests our tired bodies, our brain remains active throughout the night.
It plays a critical role in the brain as well as physical functioning. Moreover, sleep helps to process your thoughts from the day as well as store memories.
So a lack of good-quality sleep can lead to difficulty focusing and thinking clearly, especially when it comes to improving your mental game. You may feel tired, irritable, or anxious during the day, therefore performance at work may suffer.
Last but not least, your reaction time may be slowed, increasing the risk of even driving accidents.
Sleep is the foundation of improving your mental game and you can do that with just a good doss on a constant level.
In this article, you will find practical tips on how to improve the quality of your rest and therefore to increase your performance as a poker player. Plus, you’ll receive a free tool to help you build healthy habits. Read till the end 😉
What may happen when you don’t get enough sleep?
According to Matthew Walker’s book “Why We Sleep?” – “There is not one process in the human body, (that we’re aware of) that isn’t improved by sleep.”
Indeed, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the WHO), concluded in 2007 that night shift work is a probable human carcinogen.
Sleep loss is linked to the acceleration of a plethora of common issues, including:
- Diabetes & Weight Gain
- Heart Disease
- Poor fertility
- Weakened immune system
- DNA damage
So it’s a really risky thing to not keep in mind the importance of this night’s activity. So below I’ll summarise Mathew’s 12 key tips for good rest:
1. Stick to a schedule
We’re creatures of habit and we should strive to keep our sleep schedule more or less the same every day. This means weekends too! Waking up late on the weekends only interrupts the pattern we’ve spent the week nailing down. Schedule your night rests and stick to them.
2. Don’t exercise too late in the day
Exercise is always strongly encouraged and can help with sleep, however, we should try to time in our exercise routine no later than 3 hours before bed.
3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine
Keep it plain and simple: caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. Even consuming these in the afternoon can have an effect on your sleep. Nicotine, in particular, while it’s a mild stimulant compared to caffeine, will often wake up smokers earlier than they would naturally, due to the nicotine withdrawal.
4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed
If alcohol is present in your system before going to bed, it will interrupt your REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of it.
5. Avoid larger meals and beverages late at night
Heavy meals can cause digestive issues, which will interfere with sleep. Also, drinking too much fluids can cause frequent trips to the bathroom. So keep them both light!
6. Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep (if possible)
A handful of commonly prescribed heart and blood medications can disrupt your sleep patterns if taken before bed. If you find yourself having trouble sleeping, it is recommended you speak to your doctor to see if any of the drugs you’re taking are contributing to these issues. Even over-the-counter drugs can have deleterious effects on your sleep.
7. Don’t nap after 3 pm
Although naps can be a great pick-me-up, taking them too late in the day can make it hard to fall asleep at night.
8. Make sure to leave time to unwind before bed
Scheduling time to relax before bed is a great way to prep your body to unwind before falling to sleep.
9. Take a hot bath before bed
A good way to unwind before bed is by taking a nice hot bath. The resulting drop in body temperature may help you to feel sleepy.
10. Gadget-free bedroom
Cell phones and computers can be a major distraction if used before bed. The light they emit, especially the blue light, suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycle which increases in the evening.
11. Get the right sunlight exposure
Sun exposure during the day helps to regulate sleeping patterns. It’s recommended to soak in the sun for at least 30 minutes a day.
12. Don’t stay in bed if you can’t sleep
If you find yourself tossing and turning in bed for more than 20 minutes, it’s recommended to get up and do something else until you feel sleepy, like reading a book.
How much sleep do you actually need?
In most epidemiologic studies, increased risk of adverse health outcomes such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, has been observed among those who reported sleeping 5 hours or less per day, and 9 hours or more per day. Thus, the range of more than 5 and less than 9, is considered appropriate for most healthy adults.
In short, unhealthy daytime habits and lifestyle choices can leave you tossing and turning at night and adversely affect your mood, brain and heart health, immune system, creativity, vitality, and weight.
But by experimenting with the tips in this article, you can enjoy better sleep at night, boost your health, and improve your mental game by simply polishing up how you think and feel during the day.
Improve your sleep habits in 14 days
Well, the truth is that you become a better version of yourself with the discipline to reflect on your days, actions and decisions. The compound effect of those small steps of improvement gives you incredible results long-term!
👉 Based on your answers to this reflection, our team will send you a tool to track and improve your sleep habits in the next 14-days. And the good thing is that it is absolutely free.
Reflect on your usual sleep habits for the past month. Get a free tool to track your progress 🙂