Just go to bed…
Training and nutrition are both super important to nail in order to see the results that you want and to feel at your best. If you are overlooking recovery you will run into trouble sooner or later. It might also be the reason you are struggling to reach your fitness goals.
Lack of sleep will cause an imbalance in your hormones and neurotransmitters, which alongside your brain, run your body. This can lead to:
- Increased hunger and cravings (especially for sugar)
- Reduced alertness and concentration
- Increased risk of getting sick due to suppressed immune system
- Impaired regulation of emotions
- Decreased ability to handle stress
- Lack of desire to exercise
The great thing is that sleep it both free and enjoyable. We just need to get better at prioritising it, as it’s a must for both long-term wellbeing and health, as well as for your fitness goals.
In order to get a good night’s sleep, you’ll need to prepare for it, rather than waiting to last minute and hope that just the hours spent in bed will be enough. In fact, getting a good night’s sleep started when you wake up.
- Wake up around the same time every day. Your body loves routine, so trying to set your bed time at around the same time every day (even on the weekends) will help keep it working with its natural circadian rhythm.
- Wake up by light. When light hits your eyelids your body will naturally wake up by the hormone cortisol. Investing in a wake up light lamp is one of the best investments I every did!
- Get moving straight away. Avoid hitting the snooze button at all cost as this will actually give you a worse start of the day.
- Expose yourself to day light during the day. This will keep your circadian rhythm (wake/sleep cycle) normal by increasing your wakefulness during the day, and help you wind down at night time.
- Be mindful of coffee and alcohol. Caffein, if consumed later during the day can make it harder for you to go to sleep. And alcohol will have a negative impact on your deep sleep.
- Exercise regularly. This goes back to keeping your circadian rhythm normal, but it also helps regulate your hormones and deal with stress better.
- Limit fluids before bedtime. If you need to wake up to visit the bathroom you are disturbing your sleep.
- Do some journalling. Clear your head, make a list of things you need to do the next day or write down things you are grateful for.
- Just go to bed. If you are finding yourself mindlessly watching TV or just hanging around for no reason because you think it’s too early to go to bed… just go to bed!
- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep. Everyone is slightly different, but most people will see signs of lack of recovery if less than that.
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