We could all use an immunity boost in these dark and cold autumn days to avoid falling ill and having to skip training or give up recreational riding for a while. Science shows that a few lifestyle factors can play an important role in our immune health. One of these factors is sleep. The following tips will help you make your sleep as rejuvenating as possible.

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Sleep as if you were on a vacation

Sleep duration is very important. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep. To find out how much sleep your body and brain need, think back to your vacations. How many hours did you sleep after a few days when you settled into your vacation? That’s probably close to how many hours your body naturally needs.

Sleeping woman
How long did you sleep on your vacation? © Profimedia

Stick to your wake-up time

Your wake-up time is a strong signal that influences your circadian rhythm, your sleep/wake cycle. That’s why regularity is important, you should choose a wake-up time you can stick with over the weekend, not just during workdays. Some people are night owls, while others are early birds. You can use this questionnaire to find out which chronotype fits you. When you wake up, expose yourself to bright light. That will help you adjust your circadian rhythm.

Use naps wisely

Naps can be a part of your sleep routine if you have no issues falling asleep or staying asleep. But if you’re using naps to make up for poor sleep at night, then you’re only making the problem worse over the long term. That’s because a nap takes away some of your sleepiness that builds up gradually throughout the day. That way, napping will make it even harder for you to fall and stay asleep when the evening comes.

Sleeping with a bicycle
Think your naps through.

Change what you do before going to bed

What you do before bedtime can have a big impact on how easily you fall asleep. Try to avoid the following activities 1-2 hours before going to sleep. They tend to overstimulate you and keep you up for too long.

• Watching the news
• Paying bills
• Consuming caffeine and stimulants
• Playing video games
• Watching bingeable TV shows

TV watching
Avoid watching binge-worthy series before going to bed.

On the other hand, some activities can make you fall asleep too early. These could include reading lying down in a dark room or drinking alcohol. Moreover, alcohol reduces your overall sleep quality. So try to avoid those too. Choose some of the following activities instead. They will keep you awake but not overstimulated.

• Reading but not in bed
• Talking to your partner
• Preparing food and clothes for tomorrow
• Doing your evening hygiene
• Listening to music

These activities will help you wind down and get ready for sleep. Avoiding blue light in the evening is also helpful. If you have to watch a screen, make sure to turn on a night mode or install a blue light blocking app.

Try to implement at least one of these tips into your sleep routine, and you will see changes in your sleep quality. That will give your immune system a boost for sure! We will go over more good habits you can try in the next article.

Next up in Autumn Immunity Boost series

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