Essendon players and coaches place a high priority on the importance of sleep.

Sleep is like putting your car in for a service every night - sleeping is an involuntary process that releases hormones and enzymes to repair your body, a lot like sending out the mechanics to repair your car. If you compromise your sleep, you don’t service your car, and when you drive it, you are at risk of crashing.

Unfortunately, during this stressful time we are finding that many of us are experiencing disturbed sleep, so here are four quick tips to help with sleep.

1. Create consistency

Your routines may have been disturbed recently if your schooling or work situation has changed. Some of our players have noted that they are slipping into the habit of staying up later simply because they aren’t getting up in the morning to go to training. Many players have taken the step of setting an alarm on their phones to set a reminder to go to bed at a consistent time.

2. Avoid using mobile phones

We know that blue light (that light that's coming from your screens) delays the production of melatonin (the hormone that primes you for sleep), so use technology wisely. Because exposure to phones/screens before bed compromises sleep, we recommend sleeping without your phone in your room, or at the very least, having your phone well out of reach to reduce the likelihood of you reaching for it.

3. The darker the better

We are biologically programmed to be awake in the day and asleep at night. Darkness triggers melatonin production which facilitates sleep, so try to make your bedroom as dark as possible to help sleep. Try to make your room so dark that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

4. Clear your mind

Keep a small journal and a pen next to your bed. In the event that as soon as you lay down, your brain ‘turns on’ with things you need to do, simply write them down to clear your mind. This can also be helpful if you have distressing thoughts – once you’ve written the thought down, you then have a prompt to address it tomorrow. It’s amazing how simple this is, and how well it works for many of our players.

Establishing great sleep habits will put your mind and body in a great position to get through this difficult period.