Getting a sufficient amount of sleep is crucial for optimal health. A full night of sleep allows the body to recover sufficiently and allows the brain to be rejuvenated. When awaking following good rest, the body is “reset” and is able to handle the challenges of the following day. In addition to being able to handle everyday challenges, the body is fully able to recover from injury and stress, which includes rebuilding and recovering from your WOD. Every time an individual lifts weights, the muscles tear, often causing the muscle soreness that is notorious when beginning a resistance training program. The muscle soreness that ensues usually lasts for about two days and can cause significant limitations in functionality. One way to alleviate and recover from this soreness is to receive adequate sleep.
Likewise, one of the best ways to ensure sufficient sleep is to exercise. Vigorous exercise is beneficial for tiring the body and creating a degree of exhaustion in the muscles. For individuals who struggle to get adequate sleep at night, it has been demonstrated that exercise can be an effective approach to sleep problems . In addition, researchers have demonstrated that improving sleep could encourage one’s willingness to exercise , thus creating a cycle of health. A positive and influential cycle begins that allows the body to perform at optimal levels throughout the day.
Described below are 7 ways to immediately begin improving your sleep quality for a healthier life.
Exercise – Exercising at a high intensity level is preferable. Vigorous full body workouts are not only more effective toward an increased level of fitness, they also allow you to gain benefits in a fraction of the time that longer endurance based programs can take.
Less caffeine – Caffeine is a stimulant that causes the mind and body to become alert- often causing an inability of the body to stay asleep at night. Try to limit your intake of caffeine to earlier times of the day.
Eat better – A healthy diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, and quality proteins will aid in restful sleep. Your diet will also provide the building blocks your body needs to rebuild and recover.
Keep the room cool – The body temperature reduces when it is in the state of sleeping. Keeping a cool room will help keep the body relaxed.
Take a shower before bed – Showering before bed allows the body’s vasculature to vasodilate, causing relaxation.
Stretch before bed – Following a hard WOD, it is beneficial to stretch the muscles. Stretching prior to bed will help relax the tense areas that were worked during the day.
Deep breathing – Deep breathing before bed will allow the body to soothe and will slow the mind, which is perfect for sleep.
Turn off ALL light – The body is hard-wired with photoreceptors which allow the body to detect light. Nowadays, we have TVs, computers, laptops, and tablets that we take to bed with us. Eliminate any or all of the ambient room light and compare your sleep quality the next few nights.
Do you notice that you sleep better after a particularly hard WOD? Has changing your diet helped you get higher quality sleep?