Simply put, sleep heals you from the inside out. It boosts your energy, speeds recovery from injury, reduces inflammation, helps prevent illness, reduces stress, improves mental clarity and strength! Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your days – you need to make the most of your nights! Read on for better health, strength and stamina
- While you sleep, your brain triggers the release of hormones that encourage tissue growth. This can help you recover from injuries, like cuts or sore muscles from your last workout as well as illness.
“You give your body the chance to repair, recharge, and regrow during sleep,” says wellness expert Dr. Felecia Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, RACSM. “It’s the ideal time to replenish nutrients, and, since your body isn’t moving, it allows the muscles to repair themselves.”
- During quality sleep, you make more white blood cells that attack viruses and bacteria helping your body defend itself.
‘In one study, people who slept at least 8 hours a night were 3 times less likely to come down with a cold than those who got 7 hours or less’
- Your body tweaks your stress hormones during sleep, believed to curb inflammation throughout the body. This may be linked to reduced heart disease, and diabetes.
- While the exact relationship between sleep and exercise is still unclear, multiple studies suggest sleep deprivation can have a significant negative effects on performance and recovery. Sleep is also prime time for the body to undergo protein synthesis, so getting extra sleep after a tough workout might make for stronger muscles and better endurance.
Having trouble sleeping? Here are some tips to help you get a good nights rest
Support your body’s natural rhythms:
- Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day
- Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends or nights you’ve stayed up late.
- Be smart about napping – limit your nap time to 30 minutes and not too close to bedtime
- Cut caffeine out by the afternoon and avoid heavy meals when it’s late
- Fight after-dinner drowsiness. Get up and do something!
- Studies show that regular exercisers sleep better and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea and increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. The more vigorously you exercise, the more powerful the sleep benefits. But even light exercise—such as walking for just 10 minutes a day—improves sleep quality.
- Avoid heavy sessions for a couple of hours before bedtime
- Paint your bedroom a tranquil color
- Try aromatherapy. Lavender is a favourite for most people
- Try separate blankets/small duvets in a shared bed
- Try a new pillow. Maybe you need a different size? depth? filling?
- Keep noise down. If your partner snores, try using a set of earplugs to minimise the noise
- Keep your room cool
- Make sure your bed is comfortable
- Set an alarm to go to bed – yes, give yourself a ‘bedtime’. All too many times we intend going to bed ‘early’ and then get caught up in something else only to discover that it’s after midnight (again) and we’ve an early morning
- Power down an hour before bed – switch off gadgets and allow your mind to relax and switch off. This will also act as a queue for your body that bedtime is coming and it’s time to wind down
- Avoid bright screens within 2 hours of your bedtime – Even Facebook can wait til tomorrow!
- Say no to late-night television. Doesn’t it seem like all the good stuff is on late? Aside from the fact that you can loose track of time when engrossed in a program, or stay up “just til the end of this program;” depending on what your watching, you can stimulate your mind instead of calming it down. Record anything you don’t want to miss to watch earlier tomorrow.
Wind down and clear your head:
- Work through your thoughts about the day before getting into bed. Some people find it helpful to keep a diary.
- Deep breathing. Become mindful of your breathe for 10 – 15 minutes
- Use your ‘Sleep and Recover’ CD to gently relax your body and mind, visualising and creating a peaceful, enhanced recovery mindset while you sleep
Ways to get back to sleep:
Postpone worrying and brainstorming. If your thoughts are keeping you awake, try writing them down so that you can tackle them at a more appropriate time tomorrow.
This short audio will allow you to easily drift into a deep restorative sleep with the use of proven relaxation and visualisation techniques.
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