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Sort out your sleep

Sleep expert Nick Littlehales has worked with Real Madrid, Man City and Team Sky. Here are his tips for a better night’s kip...

Circadian rhythms

Be aware of the circadian rhythms of the day; the sun goes up, the sun goes down. That’s how we interract as human beings with light, dark and temperature, and it also triggers many of our biological and physiological functions throughout the day, so being more in tune with that process really helps you with recovery when you try to sleep.

Know your chronotype

Knowing whether you’re a morning person or a nighttime person – your chronotype – is important. That way, you’ll know what time of day or night is better for you to get the benefits of sleep.

Sleep in cycles, not hours

Sleep is managed in 90-minute cycles. You go through various stages and different levels of recovery during that period. With every 90-minute cycle, you’re trying to get all of the good recovery benefits and not get stuck in stages of sleep that have lower levels, so you don’t waste valuable time doing it. Try to break your day down into cycles, not hours – it’s a much better way of planning your day.

Think about pre-sleep...

...And how you get ready for bed. Don’t fall into the habit of getting home, brushing your teeth and dropping into bed simply because it’s late and you need to get to sleep. It’s much better to focus on the cycle process because it gives you timings. Depending on how things pan out during the course of the day, you don’t want to stick to some stupid routine, you want to live life as much as possible.

So if something crops up, you can deal with it. You can start coming down from the day, allowing your body to be sleep prepared and reduced to three cycles if you like, but tomorrow you’ll be able to add another 90 minute cycle in to catch up a bit.

And post-sleep

It’s important to think about how you wake up, and what you do when you wake up. Wake up naturally, with daylight, and don’t immediately interact with your device and notifications.

When you’re coming out of a period of being asleep, it’s absolutely vital to let your body move through the next 90 minutes – from the point of wake - in as un-rushed and relaxed a way as you possibly can. You need to fuel and hydrate, you need to empty bladder and bowel, and you need to get daylight into your system.

Good kip is important, and CR7 takes it really seriously, so FS asked Ronaldo about his sleep regime

Want more help catching those Zs? FS spoke to some other sleep experts, check it out.

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