Lucy Davis On The Importance Of Sleep
Posted by Samantha Nice, Jan 28, 2022
We all know that sleep is important to our overall wellbeing, but are you getting enough? Here, personal trainer, Lucy Davis, tells us why sleep is so vital for both our physical and mental health and shares her best advice for creating a nightly routine…
“When growing up, we spent so much of our time avoiding sleep and not wanting to go to bed but now we can’t wait to go to sleep and enjoy a good night,” says Lucy. “Looking back, I certainly didn’t realise the importance of sleep and definitely missed out on lots due to being a competitive swimmer for 10 years and waking up at 4am four mornings a week. Since then, I’ve learn sleep is essential for maintaining good mental and physical health, just as breathing, eating and drinking are.”
“There’s no denying we’ve all had days where we’ve experienced brain fog or feel mentally drained and this is more likely than not due to a lack of sleep,” she adds. “There have been countless studies that look into the effect of sleep deprivation which conclude than this has direct links to several brain functions such as concentration and productivity. When we feel like this, it’s so tempting to reach for a coffee and mask the lack of sleep from the night before which leads me nicely onto talking about the effects of caffeine.”
Keep Your Caffeine Kick For First Thing
“So many of us love nothing more than a coffee, but did you know it takes up to six hours for caffeine to completely leave your system. This means, if you’re sipping on a coffee mid-afternoon, it’s likely to still be having an effect on you at bedtime when you’re trying to switch off. With this in mind, I always try to refrain from caffeine intake after lunchtime and would encourage you to do the same.”
When It Comes To Sleep, It’s Quality AND Quantity
“We already understand that lifestyle factors such as a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol can have a detrimental effect on our health, but there has been growing recognition of the dangers of sleep deprivation more recently too. We never really think about sleep too much. Instead, it’s just something we naturally do at the end of the day but a lack of it can bring many consequences both short and long term. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, getting adequate rest each night allows of body’s blood pressure to regulate itself and can promote better overall health as well as reducing the chances of sleep-related conditions such as apnoea.”
How Much Are You Scrolling?
“Being a Gen Z baby (though on the older side at 24 years old), I have grown up in a world of increasing access to technology such as social media. I think most will agree with me when I say this has an overall negative effect on our sleep patterns. There is no doubt that social media has changed the world we live in in so many ways and whilst a large proportion of my job revolves around it, I’ve learnt to be able to disconnect with it. The excessive use of social media platforms before bed can reduce your sleep quality and increase sleep issues. Checking our phones before bed can keep us awake even if we do feel like our eyes are shutting as we scroll. Phones and laptops are very stimulating and make us feel more alert and energised so I’m a big advocate of limiting their usage in the evening.”
How Sleep Can Help With Your Workouts
“There are several reasons why sleep can have an impact on our workouts. Firstly, we all know that how much sleep, or lack of sleep, can really affect how we are feeling the next day, but it can also affect our cognitive function and how much energy we have which will transfer into our workouts. Sufficient sleep (which is at least 7-8 hours) can also help you to hit certain goals such as weight loss or building muscle. It also works the other way round too… you’re more likely to have a better night’s sleep if you have done some form of exercise that day. Being active requires you to use energy which more often than not makes you feel more tired and improves your ability to drift off at night. Not only are you likely to fall asleep quicker, physical activity can also mean you sleep for longer.
My Tried & Tested Routine
1. Set The Tone
I find creating a calming atmosphere really helps to prepare myself for better sleep. I’ll always diffuse the Perfect Night’s Sleep Oil Blend through my Pod as I find this smell alone sends me off to sleep nicely. I always opt for low lighting too and candles are great for this.
2. Put Your Phone Away
Set your alarm and switch your phone to silent. Nothing important needs your attention before bed and limiting screen time can also help you to fall asleep quicker.
3. Read A Book
Instead of turning to the TV, try getting stuck into a book instead. It can be a great stress reliever by allowing you to turn your attention to something else.
4. Listen To Music
I always ask Alexa to play meditation music for me for 20 minutes whilst I am settling in to bed. It’s so relaxing and helps make my bedroom feel peaceful.