So many of us think that the most important part of recovery outside of the gym is a rest day. While this is important, one of the most important things you need is consistent SLEEP! If you’re a parent, you know how important it is to keep your child on their sleep schedule. However, it’s just as important for us adults.
Lack of sleep will leave you cranky, tired, stressed, and forgetting things. Sleep is where the body repairs itself. If many of us tracked our sleep, we would notice that we don’t get enough and it isn’t until we are off schedule, one might start to see a change in their performance in the gym. Something that used to be light, might now feel heavy. Speed on runs or the rower might start to slow down.
Is your sleep consistent? Many of us would probably answer no. One needs to have consistent sleep so that we hit all four stages of sleep. Sleep stages are important because they allow your brain and body to recuperate and develop. Failure to get enough deep sleep and REM sleep over time can impact your physical and mental health. A few years ago, I started tracking my sleep on my WHOOP Band and it’s been crazy to see how stress, eating late, alcohol, sickness, and staying up late to watch one more episode of a show impacts the four stages of my cycle.
No, you don’t need to run out and get something that tracks your sleep cycles. What you might want to consider is tracking your sleep for a month by noticing the changes in how you feel inside and outside the gym. Here are a few ideas to consider for the next month.
-Be ACTIVE by coming to class or staying on a routine while traveling.
-Stay HYDRATED throughout the day, but watch your water intake too close to bed.
-Avoid late afternoon CAFFEINE intake as it can stay in your system for up to four hours.
-Limit EATING too late into the night as digesting food is a very active process.
-Going to bed and waking up at a CONSISTENT time, yes that means even on the weekend within about 30 minutes of your weekly routine.
-Limit your ALCOHOL intake. I know you just inserted an eye roll here, but I challenge you for two weeks to see how much of a difference it makes with your quality of sleep.
As we move into fall and winter. A consistent sleep schedule can keep us feeling good inside and outside the gym.
-Erica Erickson, Group Fitness Coach