Our body tells us we want a good rest after a hard training session, we all know that tired haze that can become a bit all consuming.
Mixed up in that though is the need to do the washing, catch up on work, run the kids to sports practices, do the vacuum cleaning….. and sleep can sometimes be compromised.
It is a hugely important part of the training process though, sleep helps our bodies recover and adapt to the training stress and response that we have put it through.
Here are some sleep tips which would benefit all of us:
-Steer clear of ‘screens’ (laptop, TV, phones) etc in the lead up to bedtime and in the bedroom.
-Employ relaxation strategies before bedtime (reading a book, deep breathing, light a candle).
-Have a comfy bed and ensure that your room is nice and dark and quiet
-Maintain a regular sleep/wake cycle. If you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day it helps maintain sleep patterns. Also if you establish a pre-bed routine that can also stimulate melatonin* production (e.g shower or brushing teeth, reading a book etc).
-Change the light on your phone screen so that it removes blue light. Iphone does this and there are also apps that you can download on other models.
-Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
If you are napping then keep it to 20 minutes or less. In this sleep cycle physical repair occurs.
For women who are menstruating there is increased melatonin produced in the low hormone phase of your menstrual cycle. However, during the high hormone phase melatonin release is hindered by progesterone which means we often suffer from a higher core body temp and thus a disrupted sleep. Women who are peri and postmenopausal produce less melatonin and get those well known hot flushes which disrupt sleep. Studies have shown that drinking a glass of tart cold cherry juice (which is high in melatonin) a half hour before bed aids sleep. 400milligrams of Valerian root can help you fall asleep faster.
So that’s it, employ some of those strategies and get yourself a good nights sleep!
*melatonin is a key hormone for regulating sleep.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20438325 Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: a pilot study.