Sleep is an interesting phenomenon. For some it’s elusive, while others can’t get enough of it. But no matter if you sleep a sound 8 hours a night or struggle to get 3, there is no denying that for optimal health humans need sleep. Your clients are no exception. They need sleep to function optimally and reach their health goals. Here are six tips you can use to help your clients get better sleep.
First, it is important to understand why humans need sleep and how our relationship has changed with sleep throughout the centuries. To start, sleep is our principal method of recovering from daily activities. Our bodies follow a natural circadian rhythm that wires us to be awake when the sun is up and sleep when the moon rises. Centuries ago our sleep patterns were natural. As the sun went down we went to sleep. However, the last century has followed a different pattern.
The invention of electricity brought about the largest challenge to sleep: endless access to light. This change made it possible for humans to stay awake longer than ever before, altering their natural circadian rhythm. Fast forward to today and it is no wonder why the majority of the population has trouble sleeping.
Sound like your clients? Learn how to reset your clients’ natural rhythm by following the OPEX Basic Lifestyle Guidelines taught in this course.
A great way to improve a client’s sleep is to advise them to cut off their exposure to blue and artificial light 90 minutes before bed. Exposure to light in the evening suppresses the body’s natural melatonin production making it tougher to fall asleep. This can be difficult for some clients to put into practice so begin gradually by recommending 30 minutes of no lights before bed. Slowly build up to 90 minutes without light exposure before bed as they adjust to this new rhythm. Tip: Good ways to spend time before bed include reading, solving puzzles, and connecting with family.
Quality sleep is uninterrupted sleep. To give your clients the best chances of getting uninterrupted sleep have them consume their last meal 2 hours before bed. This will give them time to digest their food, leaving them relaxed and able to transition to and remain asleep effortlessly.
Another great way to help your clients wind down is to recommend a relaxing activity that they can add into their nightly routine. A couple of examples include meditating, breathwork, journaling, and family time. For the best efficacy, pair the type of activity with your client’s personality. If a client tends to think a lot and is highly strung, journaling may be a great form of relaxation and breath work can be a great way to wind down.
Taking a shower or bath before bed is a great way to begin the transition into sleep. The temperature of this bath or shower will depend on the client. It’s worth having your client experiment with what works best for them. Some clients will prefer warm water, which will stimulate the body to cool down, and others will be equally relaxed by cold water.
To achieve quality sleep it is important to be in a cold environment. 60-67 F (15.5-19 C) is the optimal sleeping temperature. To achieve this temperature your clients can turn down the thermostat in their room, open a window, sleep with fewer clothes, or only use bed sheets.
The final tip is to sleep in a quiet and blacked-out room. Humans are very sensitive to noise and light and even with our eyelids shut we can recognize light sources in the room. To help clients get quality sleep you can recommend covering all lights in their room or sleeping with an eye mask. It’s also a bonus if they can sleep with a blackout curtain to block any outside light.
The amount of noise a client sleeps with can be a personal preference. While some might prefer white noise to help them fall asleep, it’s worth mentioning that the noise is affecting their sleep whether they notice it or not.
Training is only part of the equation. To achieve their fitness goals your clients not only need to train effectively, but they also need to recover. This includes getting quality sleep, having balanced nutrition, and following a quality lifestyle. This blog detailed how to improve your clients’ sleep. Learn how to coach the other aspects of your clients’ recovery when you sign up for our free Coach’s Toolkit.