Everybody knows that sleep is the most important activity of our day. This crucial pastime not only replenishes our mind but even more so our bodies. As an athlete, a consistent, good quality sleep routine can do wonders for your level of fitness.
Proper sleep has been dubbed as the best legal performance enhancer you can get your hands on! In the process of reaching your fitness goals, there are three key elements to be considered: training, nutrition and rest. At Kooi Beds, we’re experts on the latter. Therefore, we thought it best to familiarise you on the fitness benefits you’ll reap when following a proper sleep routine. So, if you’re looking for tips on how sleep can contribute to your overall performance, then feel free to read on!
The effects of sleep deprivation are startling; a study has shown that going to sleep two hours later than usual can lead to the same attention impairment to that of a 0.05 blood alcohol level!
On the contrary, sufficient sleep can do wonders for your body. All humans, not just fitness enthusiasts, can benefit from catching enough shut-eye.
So, what are the benefits of a proper sleep routine? Well, enough shut-eye may help you with the following:
Overall, it’s been proven that pro athletes need 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Any less than that may start to affect your athletic performance negatively.
Of course, every person is different, and some people are able to cope with less sleep. Therefore, have a chat with your coach or trainer and explore the best hours of sleep you need to reach your fitness goals.
When you’re trying to adopt a sleep routine to maximise your fitness levels, it’s best to skip out on those afternoon naps. Those short slumbers are especially hindering to your performance if you’re struggling to fall asleep at night or feeling sleep deprived during the day.
Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. Therefore, have a talk with your fitness team and work out a napping schedule (if you require one) that’s best for you and your fitness routine.
To achieve good quality sleep, you’ll need to create a sleep encouraging environment. This way, the sleep you get, is effective and satisfying. Furthermore, if your bedroom is a sleep-friendly environment, you’ll find it easier to fall asleep once you go down for the night.
The first step in creating a sleep-friendly environment is making sure that your bed is promoting your sleep and not working against precious rest time.
At Kooi Beds, we specialise in creating the perfect sleeping surface to support the high performing athlete’s body. Perfectly poised, our Kooi beds come in three levels of comfort – firm, medium and plush – to support each fitness enthusiast’s individual needs. Furthermore, the upper layer of memory foam conforms to the shape of your body, creating the pressure relief sensation all athletes need.
As an athlete, your body is tired after a long day of battling a fitness routine. With a Kooi bed, you’ll not only treat yourself with a luxurious sleeping surface, but you’ll also create the optimal environment for your body to rest and restore itself.
After the perfect bed, your bedroom atmosphere before bedtime can also make or break your sleep routine. There are a couple of main elements that affect the energy of your bedroom feel. An energised bedroom will send the wrong signals to your body, inhibiting restfulness.
Pay attention to the following things in your bedroom:
Choose bedding that’s silky and soft to the touch. This is especially important if certain textures bother you. As a fitness enthusiast, the last thing you want is scratchy bedding keeping you from sticking to your sleep routine!
Next, make sure that your bedroom is dimly lit at night. Lowered lighting sends signals to your body that it is nighttime; thus, it is time for bed. Furthermore, avoid any blue-tinted lighting, as this will definitely disrupt your body’s nighttime recognition.
The way your bedroom smells may greatly affect your sleep routine. Certain smells like citrus, rosemary, eucalyptus and mint may leave you feeling more energised, keeping you from your precious sleep. If you have a room diffuser in one of these scents and you’re struggling to fall asleep, it might be best to move this scent to a different room.
Rather opt for calming fragrances such as lavender, bergamot, valerian, juniper and sandalwood to ease you into a calming state of sleepiness.
Lastly, have a feel at the temperature of your bedroom. Colder temperatures allegedly help sleepfulness along, whilst warmer temperatures may leave your body feeling more awake and energised.
Therefore, if you’re struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep, turn down the heat before you go to sleep.
Now that you’ve created the perfect sleep-enhancing bedroom, pay attention to the way you go to sleep. Certain activities, food and drink need to be avoided before bedtime in order for you to sleep effectively. Furthermore, you can also add certain things to your bedtime routine to ease your body into a sleepy state.
Vigorous exercise energises the body and may keep it from falling asleep quickly and effectively. Therefore, avoid any heavy exercises like cardio such as running or cycling and strength training before bedtime.
These two drinks may be the biggest culprits when it comes to disturbance of sleep. That is why it’s so important to avoid these drinks before bedtime if you’re struggling to fall asleep.
Caffeine, which is found in coffee and some types of tea, keeps your mind and body awake no matter how hard you try to fall asleep. Some people even report that caffeine intake after 14:00 in the day keeps them awake at night. Therefore, it is recommended that you avoid caffeine in the hours leading up to your bedtime.
Alcohol, on the other hand, may leave you feeling sleepy and perfectly relaxed before bedtime. However, the adverse effects of this substance only kick in when you’re well on your way to dreamland. Oftentimes, you may feel exceptionally tired if you went to bed with alcohol in your system. This is due to the apparent sleep disturbance alcohol causes – without you being aware of it.
As we all know, our bodies like the nighttime darkness when it comes to sleep. It sends the body into a state of droopy sleepiness. However, with the invention of electricity came a problem. Since we could fully illuminate the darkness of the night in our homes, an artificial daytime was created.
It is only until recently, with the invention of smartphones, that artificial light at night became a problem. Staring at your phone for hours on end before bedtime only does one thing; it tricks your body into thinking that it’s daytime.
Consequently, you’ll feel yourself struggling to fall asleep, or waking up tired due to insufficient resting at night. Therefore, if you’ve experienced the above-mentioned, try to put your phone and other electronics away at least 30 mins before bedtime.
Lastly, avoid ingesting large meals up to 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. This will allow your body to ingest the majority of the food you’ve taken in before bedtime. Not to mention the un comfortability of laying down with a full stomach!
Additionally, avoiding large meals before bedtime may also prevent certain conditions such as heartburn and indigestion.
Taking a shower or a bath right before bedtime might not be a good idea since the heat will increase your body’s temperature. However, taking a warm shower or bath a couple of hours before bedtime will start to send your body into a state of relaxation and restfulness, helping sleep along later at night.
Light exercises such as these stretches before bedtime can be a great way to unwind and release stress from the daily grind. This will ease your body, sending it into a relaxed state for better sleep.
Along with our bodies, the mind should also switch off before bedtime. Reading a book before you go to sleep can be a great way to relax your mind and get it ready for sleep time.
However, avoid reading too exciting books that’ll keep you up, wondering about what’ll happen next!
A great way to unwind and reflect on the day that has passed is to write in a journal. This way, you can look back on the happenings of each day, as well as write down things you want to remember the next day.
There are many different types of journals you can keep. These notebooks can come in the form of a diary, prayer journal, thankfulness journal or even a bullet journal. The most important goal in keeping a journal is to use it for winding down at the end of the day to promote better sleep.
Lastly, when setting a bedtime routine, the most important factor is probably the timing of everything.
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day – even on weekends – creates a sense of routine. Our bodies easily adjust to a set bedtime routine, making sleep, falling asleep and waking up much easier.
A good routine creates a sense of predictability and, consequently, security. As a high-performance athlete, it is crucial for you to construct a bedtime routine that promotes your fitness levels to the max. Start small by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. From there on, you’ll be able to adapt your sleep routine to what suits you best. Above all; train hard, but sleep harder.