We all know what a good workout does to our muscles and how we feel the next few days if we didn’t properly help ourselves heal. One of the most important things you can do to help the healing process is to get a good night’s sleep. It may seem like a no-brainer, but a surprisingly large percentage of people don’t realize how important it really is. We recommend you try these nightly routines to help you sleep better and let your body repair muscles the way it was built to.
SET YOUR INTERNAL CLOCK
The circadian rhythm is your body’s natural 24-hour cycle, which is linked to all your physiological processes including brain stimulation, hormone production, and cell regeneration – which includes muscle repair. Simply going to sleep and waking up at the same times each day will train your brain and body to fall asleep and stay asleep. Avoid bright lights in the evening (dim the lights two or three hours before bedtime), and open the blinds in the morning to let the sunlight naturally help you wake up.
GET A RITUAL FOR YOUR RITUALS
Developing a nightly ritual that you do before bed also helps signal your body that it’s time to sleep. Whatever you choose to do each night – have a cup of chamomile then lock the doors and do a little yoga, etc – try to do it at the same time in the same order each night. Not only will will the repetition over time trigger your brain to start producing melatonin in anticipation of sleeping, it also helps you separate your bedtime from any activities or stress that could prevent you from falling asleep or sleeping through the night.
AVOID CAFFEINE LATE IN THE DAY
Most people already know to not have that cup of coffee at 8 pm and then expect to be asleep at 10, but you should actually avoid caffeine much earlier than that. Caffeine can actually stay at elevated levels in your system for up to 6-8 hours, which can feel like even longer if you have a particular sensitivity to it. A good rule of thumb is to avoid coffee or caffeinated beverages after 3 pm to help you sleep better each night.
MAKE YOUR BEDROOM YOUR SLEEP ZONE
Just like having a nighttime routine, making sure your bedroom triggers your urge to sleep will have an a lasting impact on your ability to maintain a deep sleep that lets you have effective muscle repair each night. First, keep your bed just for sleeping. Don’t use it for working, surfing the internet, playing with the dog, or watching TV all day. Next, make sure it’s distraction free – no loud noises or lights streaming through the curtains. And consider facing your alarm clock away from you, blue light is known to disrupt sleep and checking the time every five minutes may make you begin thinking about the coming day, rather than sleeping.
THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER
Set your temperature low… the optical temperature for most people is between 67 and 71 degrees.
Get a comfortable pillow that puts your neck in a neutral position.
Wind down 2-3 hours before bed. Hang up the cares of the day and do something relaxing.
Utilize calming influences like white noise generators, lavender sprays, and a sleep mask.
Well hopefully, these tricks will help you get a better night’s sleep so you can be ready for your next workout. Sweet dreams.