Are You Neglecting Your Best Tool for Peak Fitness?
The topic of achieving great rest can feel a bit cliche, we all know how important sleep is but it’s one of those things that goes without mention and is arguably easier said than done. In America, studies report that 70% of adults admit they obtain insufficient sleep at least once a month. More commonly than not, sleep is the first thing people compromise for time and various other lifestyle obligations or priorities. For an athlete this can compromise a lot more than just the following days focus and grogginess. Next to diet and exercise, adequate sleep is essential for achieving peak physical condition.
Remember that small changes can lead to big gains. Always consider new and mindful ways to fine tune your lifestyle.
For athletes, sleep is the crucial foundation for success, wellbeing, and athletic performance. A well rested individual will benefit from increased reaction times, motor function, motivation, attentiveness, emotional and mental regulation, muscle recovery, cellular repair, and endurance (see impacts here). How much so? Dr. Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor who specializes in sleep science, says performance can increase up to 30%!
Here are 4 easy ways to optimize your sleep:
As humans we embrace familiarity and patterns without much thought. When considering how to better your sleep, strive to create regularity at night. This goes far past always hitting the sack at the same hour. In the hours leading up to snoozing off, visit and revisit things that set the stage for bed. There is not a one size fits all routine, so a unique one is completely fine! Aim for activities that calm the mind and relax the body, i.e. quick journal entry of the highs/lows of the day, stretch routuine, etc. Your busy thoughts can often be a big distraction to getting the zzzs you need.
We spend about 4 months each year asleep in bed. That’s 1/3 of our lives!! So make sure you have the best gear for the job. When was the last time you flipped and or rotated your mattress? Unsupportive mattresses and pillows and even over-bundling of blankets can lead to sleep loss and discomforts.
Get to know your own sleep nuances and preferences. There are many opinions or best practices for comfort. Discover and remember the comforts you prefer; which side of the bed, the direction you sleep, bedroom scents, best sleeping positions, and noise or light levels.
Think of your bedroom as your haven, create an environment that is dark cool and quiet. When it comes to temperature, many people assume this is also a preference. An overly cool or warm bedroom can actually hinder your ability to enter deeper stages of sleep. Studies show the best range for sleep is between 60-67 degrees fahrenheit. Studies also show the darker the room, the better the sleep.
About the author: Kelly N. is a social media creative from New York. She enjoys hot yoga, cycling, and long hours asleep on her Casper Mattress.