Recovery Series: Sleep
In my last post, I discussed the importance of recovery. If you missed it, you can read it here.
A few of the really important factors in recovery are sleep, nutrition, training, and self-care. In this post, we will tackle sleep.
I know, I know. You get as much as you can. You’re busy. Whether it’s work, family, or a really good show on Netflix. I know.
Sleep is the single most important factor in recovery.
THIS IS WHERE THE WORK YOU PUT IN THE GYM IS PUT INTO YOU!
You don’t get stronger or more fit during your workout. You actually get torn down while training. The rebuild happens during sleep.
If you workout really hard and don’t get enough sleep, what do you think eventually happens?
Studies have shown injury rates increase as much as 68% without adequate sleep. Both mental and physical performance also begins to drop off significantly.
So how much sleep should you get?
Here’s the tricky part. Everyone’s sleep need is different. In fact, everyone’s sleep need is different everyday.
For most people 7-8 hours is a minimum. If you’re working out hard and have a busy life, you may need more that that.
Try tracking your sleep whether it’s with pen and paper or an app on your phone. See what an extra hour for a week feels like.
I use my Whoop strap to both tell me how much I need and how much (quality) sleep I actually got. Some days I’m good with 7.5 hours. Others I need almost 9.
The quality of your sleep matters too. Here are some tips to help maximize your time in bed.
Avoid blue light. Most phones now come with a mode that will slowly redden your screen as bedtime approaches. I also use an app on my laptop call f.lux to do the same.
Plan your next day. I use an old fashioned blank notebook but there are loads of apps out there too. I write down everything I can think of that I need to get done the next day/week. I also keep it nearby so if something I need to get done hits me I can write it down.
Do things that relax you. For me this is reading while in bed. Maybe you like a sleep tea or mediation at bed time. Find what works for you. Turn off your phone notifications too.
Black out your room. Our bodies are very receptive to light (even inside of your ears have a light receptors!) so this means get as close to 100% darkness as possible. Chargers, the little red light on the TV, everything! Black out curtains and electrical tape does wonders!
Really put some effort in to your sleep and then take notice of how your recovery improves!
In the next post, we’ll talk about nutrition and recovery!