Sleeping for recovery and results.
From my experience of dealing with a huge cross section of members and performing literally hundreds of consultations, one massively overlooked area of lifestyle is sleep and the importance there of.
Some of you will be aware of your typical daily nutrition plan, and some of you may even have a regular structured, progressive training program and enjoy a regular exercise pattern, but have you factored in your sleep as a key factor in achieving your goals and results?
Sleep is essentially your body’s recovery time, yet it is rarely associated with or linked to achieving results. It is vital to not overlook the correlation between your sleep pattern and your overall performance not only when exercising, but also when carrying out day to day tasks. Its no surprise that when you fall short on the amount of sleep you get, you will struggle, both physically and mentally, to perform to your maximum potential. This obviously creates a negative start point to any workout you may perform.
When you exercise, you actually place stress on your body, not only by creating tiny microscopic tears in your muscle fibres, but also by taxing both your immune system and your nervous system. Taking this into account, sleep is essential in aiding the recovery process and allowing your body to rebuild itself. If this recovery process is hindered/shortened/broken, then the exercise that follows will also be hindered/shortened/broken.
On a practical level of planning/preparing your meals, starting your day in a fatigued state can lead to cravings and instability in energy levels, again disrupting your lifestyle and hindering your progress. I would also challenge anyone to cook from scratch a balanced and nutritionally sound meal when fatigued. In this state the likelihood of reaching for that ‘quick fix’ is far greater. Ideally when looking at meal planning/preparation one should look to stabilise energy levels and avoid any peaks and troughs throughout the day.
To summarise: the quality of your day is often heavily influenced by the quality of your previous night.
Simple Tips for improving the quality of your sleep:
-Aim to wind your evening down an hour before actually going to bed.
-Get your bedroom as dark as possible, think of Bruce Waynes Batcave!
-Turn off all electrical equipment.
-Use your bedroom only for sleep, this helps to create association with sleep and rest.
-Ensure you have a comfortable and supportive mattress and aim to use pillows that provide adequate neck and shoulder support.
Your bed is your friend.
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