How often do you get home from work – or simply walk from the home office to the living room at 5 PM – feeling too beat to exercise or spend time with your partner? How many times a week do you choose to order in because you’re too tired to cook dinner?
You can chalk that exhaustion up to stress or doing too much in a day. And while that’s a part of it, there’s a much simpler explanation: you’re not getting enough sleep. Being both a night owl and an early bird may sound great in theory, but it will eventually cause havoc on your physical and mental health.
Sleep is an essential self-care practice. If you have kids or have dealt with any kind of insomnia (not the Al Pacino and Robin Williams film – there’s no recovering from that), then you know this already. So what can you do about it?
Sleep tip #1: Establish and follow a sleep routine.
It may be next to the compass as your least-thought-of app, but odds are your phone has a built-in sleep timer. So there really isn’t any reason to not keep a consistent, steady sleep schedule. But there’s a catch: the blue light emitting from our phones is known for disrupting bedtime routines. Once the timer has been programmed, put that precious device away and wind down with an analog activity instead of a digital one.
Reading, meditating, and other relaxing activities are screen-less ways to effectively help you settle in for the night. If you absolutely must know what happened on Succession right before bed, at least invest in a pair of blue light glasses. They can help with your sleep hygiene, which is built on the twin pillars of keeping a stable schedule and creating a relaxing bedroom environment.
A sleep timer – or just good old-fashioned self discipline – can help put your sleep-wake cycle on par with Bill Murray’s in Groundhog Day. It also offers several long-term benefits: studies show getting a proper amount of rest improves your concentration, boosts your immunity system, and lowers your risk of heart disease.
Of course, when your friend comes to town ready to hit the pub in the middle of the week, or you just have to watch that game in another timezone, your sleep is going to be subpar. But most nights, the effort you’re putting in to maximize rest will improve your mood and health, making you well-prepared to handle whatever challenges are thrown your way during the day.
Sleep tip #2: Adjust your consumption.
This is probably obvious, but don’t have caffeine after 3 PM unless lives are at stake. The mid-afternoon recharge may be necessary to prepare for the work you’re going to have to do after work (sigh), but there are other ways to reinvigorate. Switch up that afternoon java with some water – you’ll be better hydrated, more energetic, and more likely to be able to contribute something substantial to that late-day brainstorming session.
Caffeine isn’t the only culprit. Nicotine and alcohol should also be avoided. Yes, the latter can make you feel sleepy – but, ironically, it can also be a major sleep disruptor.
Also consider the timing of your meals. Just like you should never go to bed angry, you should never go to bed hungry or too full. Avoid heavy meals within a couple hours before bedtime to avoid feeling bloated (and to help your new pair of men's pyjamas feel a little more comfortable). Eating healthy, balanced meals throughout the day is better than binging at night.
Sleep tip #3: Make time for exercise.
It’s not exactly groundbreaking to say that an effective way to get a good sleep is to make sure you’re tired. But regardless, getting in some sort of exertion during the day – whether it’s trying to match your pace to the BPMs of the techno you’re jamming to on the treadmill, or taking that double shift in beer league hockey – can help you catch some much-needed Zs later on.
Here’s where it gets less simple: exercising less than 90 minutes before bedtime can hinder your sleep. We won’t bore you with the scientific details about hormones and adrenaline. Just know that many types of exercise (yes, even that kind) may actually stimulate your mind and body. And that’s not the goal.
No matter how you choose to get in the recommended 30-minutes of daily activity, we have a pair of underwear that can enhance your comfort, movement, and performance. Check out the best sport underwear for men.
Sleep tip #4: Create a relaxing sleep environment.
If you’re one of those people wondering why you always sleep better in a hotel, take a hard look at what you’re resting on (and maybe give us the hotel reco while you’re at it).
You should have a comfortable bed, mattress, and pillow. Studies have shown that upgrading these essentials on a regular basis can help improve back and shoulder pain, and reduce stiffness. It’s recommended that you upgrade your bedding situation every five to 10 years.
In addition to changing your sheets, consider investing in blackout blinds or at least trying to block out light as much as possible. Using a fan can also help you keep cool and provide ambient noise – bonus if it helps drown out your partner’s snoring.
Sleep tip #5: Wear comfortable underwear and pyjamas.
This one’s easy to forget about, since most men seem to have a habit of sleeping in old, baggy t-shirts and ill-fitting plaid bottoms. No, you shouldn’t dress for bed like a hungover lumberjack.
There are better men’s pyjamas out there. Take our Sleepwalker and Snooze Pants. Both are made with softer-than-McDonald’s-ice-cream 4-way stretch modal fabric (an eco-friendly cotton alternative) that feels good between the sheets.
Our DropTemp™ Cooling technology can do wonders for your sleep, because it boosts your body’s natural evaporative cooling capacity. In other words: you’ll never wake up in a cold sweat – or any kind of sweat, for that matter. Plus, with the built-in BallPark Pouch™ – which is also available in some of our pyjamas – you don't have to worry about adjusting your balls throughout the night.
These are some of the many sleep tips you probably don’t even think about. Rest is important for recovery, but it also can set you up for success the next day. It’s easy! All you have to do is follow these suggestions…and then lie down.