Sleep is as important as nutrition for maximizing the effects of training.
We often hear from members that they feel tired or are not getting enough sleep. Getting enough (or not enough) sleep effects appetite, digestion, recovery, muscle growth, memory, mood, and many other things!
signs you may not be getting enough sleep
- You find it hard to maintain focus throughout the day, or you often feel foggy
- You have low energy during your workouts
- You always feel sore after working out
- You are often grumpy and unhappy
- You get sick a lot
Most of us already know that sleep is important, but are unsure about how much is necessary, or have trouble falling or staying asleep. You have probably heard a lot of different suggested numbers for how much sleep you should be getting, ranging from 7-10. While quantity of sleep is important, we also want those hours to be good quality sleep. It is also good for your body and your training to, as much as your life allows, have a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. Our bodies like cycles!
Tips FOR quality sleep
During the Day
- Try not to drink caffeine in the late afternoon/evening.
- Set a bedtime alarm based on when you need to be up in the morning (So if you want get 8 good hours of sleep and need to be up at 6am, set your bedtime alarm for 9-9:30, so you can be sleeping by 10pm)
- Eat well! Try also eating at consistent times.
- Keep alcohol consumption low
- Try keep your bed as a place for sleep. Avoid associating your bed with things like work or watching tv/movies. Beds are for sleeping (and maybe that other bed activity).
- Cut down on your screen time in the evening. The blue light from screens can hinder your ability to fall asleep and your ability to sleep well. If you need to be on your phone or computer in the evening, try a red-light screen dimming application.
- Consider also scheduling a wind-down hour before your bedtime, you can take this time to do some gentle stretching, cuddle a pet, read a (paper) book, drink some caffeine-free tea, whatever you like to do to unwind (but no screens!)
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Consider trying out a sleep mask.
- Make your bedroom as quiet as possible. Consider trying out earplugs.
- Make your room a nice, cool temperature. Our body temperatures naturally decrease at night, and there is evidence that a cool sleeping environment can help people fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Sleep with your phone in another room. “But my phone is an alarm clock!” You can buy an alarm clock. They are cheap.
- Turn your phone on silent/do not disturb. There are ways you can set certain numbers to come through even on silent/do not disturb, if you are concerned about emergency calls.
- If you do wake up in the middle of the night, DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR PHONE! It is also a good idea if you find yourself lying awake for a while to get up and do a calming activity in a different space, like reading or stretching. Sometimes staying in bed can cause you extra anxiety or stress, as you are hyper-aware of your inability to sleep.
- Try not to press the snooze button. If you are still very tired when you wake up, try to go to bed earlier that night. That might be a sign that you just need a longer sleep time.
- Give yourself time to get ready for whatever you are doing that day. Being in a rush can cause you a lot of unnecessary stress. Especially if you are training in the morning, it helps to give your body a bit of time to wake up before you hit an intense CrossFit session!