Here at NN Sport Coaching we use the four pillars of Nutrition, Exercise, Water and Sleep with all of our athletes. All four pillars compliment each other but sleep is the one pillar that affects every single other pillar either adversely or beneficially depending on quantity and quality. A poor night's sleep can affect mood and cortisol levels meaning we can be in fight or flight mode (which is absolutely essential for our survival) far longer than is good for us. Our food and nutrition can be compromised and we can make poor choices. We will crave sugary foods and drinks (so less water!) We will generally consume more caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, cola or supplements which can lead to a vicious circle as this can lead to poor sleep the next night. Caffeine is the number one performance enhancing supplement in the world and is brilliant if you need to be alert but it also can stay in your system for several hours. So coffee and even green tea which can be high in caffeine should ideally not be drunk after lunchtime.

There are so many things that can affect our sleep and now we can throw in the worry of this covid 19 virus! People have had their lives turned upside down in a very short space of time. The worry of ‘how do I avoid it?’, ‘will my family members get it?’, ‘will my job be there when it's all over?’, ‘do we have enough money to get through this?’........ ‘do you think 195 toilet rolls will be enough?!?!’. These questions and many more will definitely affect our sleep and that’s before we are exposed to the wall to wall media (mainstream and social) coverage!. I can do the ‘Control the controllables’ and ‘worrying is pointless” (all of which is true!) speech but because almost every single person is affected one way or another and this scale of pandemic has not been seen before there is little point.

All we can do is try to stick as near as normal to our routines. Speaking of which isn't it strange that we make sure the kids have routines but once you hit a certain age that goes out the window?!?. Anyone who has kids or has babysat will have tried to get them to calm down, had a glass of milk and a biccie, got the pj’s on, brushed their teeth, had a bedtime story or similar winding down and getting ready for sleep routines but we neglect our own! So if we get one thing with this damn virus let it be that we have a proper sleep routine.

Some simple steps are hit airplane (does one remember them? They used to fill the skies!) mode at least one hour before bed. Try to get to bed at the same time each night. Light a fire (the orange flames help with the release of melatonin). Have a warm shower or bath. Have a glass of milk and a biccie!. Have your bedroom like a cave- cool and dark. Read a book. Listen to music. Listen to a podcast. Write in a journal or your to-do list for tomorrow. Do some very gentle yoga. Put on a meditation. Avoid too much alcohol. Avoid caffeine. Avoid eating too late. Avoid vigorous exercise unless it’s……….!!!

Any questions? Give me a shout


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