Shearers as we know are among the most elite of endurance athletes – exercising by working every day.
Exercise increases the need for sleep – to allow for numerous biochemical processes, including muscle recovery and effects on the sympathetic nervous system (the heart) – I'm guessing you know about the mornings when you are achey, stiff and your heart is pounding in your ears - not from the effects of the night before either - it could be because you didn't get enough sleep to recover!
Anyway, to make sure you fall asleep easily and stay that way until you have to get up:
1. Limit caffeine to a level that works for you. For sensitive people, you may be fine with just one cup before midday, (or like me, none at all) but others may be able to drink it until 3pm or bedtime.
2. Avoid screens at least one hour before bed – the blue light from televisions, computers and hand held devices blocks the production of melatonin, an important sleep hormone.
3. Try and keep your room as dark as possible. Keep outside light out with thick curtains or block out blinds and cover all light emitting sources – red light seems to be better, but still try and avoid this. Some people use an eye mask to get good sleep.
4. To fall asleep, your body needs to be cooling itself, so try a warm drink before bed, and in this super hot weather, a warm but not hot shower before bed, so you are not overheated.
5. Keep your room cool – between 16-20 degrees is ideal.
6. Try not to drink too much so you don’t have to wake up to wee.
7. If you need to nap to get the hours of sleep up – nap earlier in the day so it doesn’t stop you falling asleep.
8. Try and have some protein before bedtime – this helps with muscle recovery.
9. Go to bed at approximately the same time every day - this helps the body get in to the habit of falling asleep.
10. Get up at the same time every day (easier done when you get enough sleep!)
11. Create a bedtime ritual that works for you, maybe this includes reading, meditation, stretching, a shower, a hot drink – something that is going to work to help you get to sleep.
12. If you have a lot to do outside of shed work, set aside some time early in the evening to plan what has to be done – write down your list and then leave it alone to let your mind declutter for the evening
13. Keep active on days when there are no sheep - it's better to do this in the morning .
14. Sleep with your feet elevated on a pillow
15. Wear compression gear (this can help and you wake up refreshed or can mean you wake up to tear it off as it's too tight).
16. Try a soothing herbal tea before bed - chamomile is traditionally used.
17. Bananas and milk are high in a chemical called tryptophan which is helpful for sleep.