Dr. Nerina's top tips for getting a great night's sleep
Drift off to sleep visualising success – top athletes do this all the time. Close your eyes and imagine doing something really well. It might be a particular move or stance in a situation where you felt powerful, strong and successful or even a presentation at work where you felt calm and confident.
Try to get to sleep before midnight (ideally lights out by 11pm) at least three or four times per week. The 90 minute sleep cycle before midnight is vital for rebalancing the adrenal and thyroid glands and reducing the adrenaline build-up from the day. This is crucial to performing at your best and reducing stress levels the next day.
It’s not always achievable but try to take a nap mid afternoon – ideally at some point between 2pm and 4pm. Duration of nap: up to 20 minutes for sharpening up concentration and up to 40mins (but no more) for muscle recovery and optimising physical performance.
Try to stop worrying about sleep the night before a big event as this will stress you out. Try to stay as restful as you can even if you are awake. Many athletes have gone on to break world records even after having not slept well at all the previous night.
Pre-sleep yoga. Practise the pre-sleep yoga routine described in my book Tired but Wired to calm the nervous system and relax the muscles. Even 5 -10 minutes of breathing deeply into these postures will help the body and mind to let go and set you up for the deep sleep that is vital for optimal performance.
Say ‘Aaaah’. Chanting the sound 'Aaaah' can help to release pain and stuck negative energy. It might feel weird but go for it, don't hold back. Loosen your jaw up and let the sound out. 10 minutes of this can help to clear the mind allowing for deep, clean sleep, leaving you refreshed and focused for the next day.