We all know how important proper nutrition and drinking enough water is to our health and fitness routine, but adequate sleep is an integral part of your success as well.
There have been recent studies looking at sleep quality and athletes. Not surprisingly, researchers noted that people who are regularly exercising and causing eustress to their bodies need more sleep than non-exercisers due to training load and recovery needs.
I also find that having some healthy fats and protein before bed helps a ton too, especially if you’re highly active throughout the day. Your body uses fats at rest, so giving it a dose of this “sleeping fuel” before bed will help your body repair (this is the protein part) and aid in fat facilitation while you snooze!
Of course, knowing you should sleep and actually getting that sleep can be two very different things. There is a slew of tactics we probably all have tried when suffering from insomnia, but many of those strategies may actually be making things worse. Here are some of the strategies I have tried in the past and found I have done them incorrectly:
1: Melatonin supplementation:
Melatonin is a hormone your body naturally produces around sunset each day, but many people think they can pop it like a sleeping pill and feel the results immediately. It takes about 3-4 hours for the melatonin to take effect, so make sure you are taking it a few hours before you plan to head to bed.
2: Going to bed only when you have hit exhaustion:
Keeping consistent with your sleeping schedule is imperative when trying to overcome insomnia. When seasons change, it’s expected we will fluctuate with it. On those summer nights, we always want to stay up later, but feel lethargic and sleepy when it gets dark at 5pm in the winter. Try to find a time to hit the hay that is reasonable throughout the year. If you stay consistent with your bedtime and waking time, your body will know what to expect and your REM sleep will be more regular and uninterrupted.
3: Counting sheep
For me, counting only causes anxiety when I start to hit higher numbers while still wide awake. Counting sheep is meant to be a de-stressor, but I have yet to see its effectiveness. What works for me is visualizing a process I enjoy doing, so myself at the gym having a really good workout, doing meal prep on a Sunday, hiking up in the mountains etc.
4: Checking the clock:
You have to wake up to a certain degree to register the time, and this can kick you out of your sleep cycle. Try to avoid checking the time, and to do this, I typically turn my phone face down or turn my alarm clock away from me.
Again, consistency is key. Make sure you are going to bed and waking up around the same time each day.
Source: MJ Fitnatic