Sleep for recovery, create a routine!
Sleeping properly is a far overlooked component of recovery. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue, mental fog, grogginess, weight gain and can even affect memory. A study by the European Heart Journal even stated that those getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep a day are at a greater risk for developing heart disease or having a stroke. In addition, those sleeping less than 6 hours have also been shown to be at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
How does sleep help me recover?
During sleep, blood pressure will drop and the heart will be able to have less stress on it. Your breathing will also slow down and the muscles in your body will start to relax. Inflammation can be reduced during this time and assist in the healing process. The key to recovery from sleep lives in the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland will release growth hormone during the night which is essential for your body to repair itself. When sleep declines, so does growth hormone secretion which makes recovery much more difficult.
I can’t seem to get in a good sleep routine.
A proper routine before sleep can make all the difference between a good night’s rest and a night of staring at the ceiling.
Blue Light from phones, laptops and T.V. can cause the body to not release melatonin which is a hormone secreted for sleep. I recommend putting all devices down at least 20 minutes before bed to allow your body enough time to wind down.
Next, your bed should only be used for sleep. The more you hangout in bed without sleeping, the less your body and brain will associate that environment with sleep. Get in bed when you are ready to sleep and that’s it.
Nowadays a large percentage of people are working from home. It is very easy to stay up getting work done. However, this type of stress can cause the body to produce cortisol which is the stress hormone. Too much cortisol can cause problems sleeping. Put your work down at least 20 minutes before bed to allow your mind time to think about something besides work.
Begin to make a routine that is easy to follow every night. For some people that may be sweeping the floor, finishing the dishes, brushing your teeth and changing the water out for your cat or dog. A simple routine that can be done over and over can let your body and brain know it’s time to wind down and get ready to sleep.
Avoid any caffeine later in the day. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and can stop your body from relaxing for sleep.
A small fan producing light constant noise can help some people relax and fall asleep much better. In addition, a colder environment in the room can lead to better sleep. Around 70 degrees is a good starting point.