Thursday, 28 June 2018

Zak's Sleep Tips

Zaks Sleep Tips 

— Vince Lombardi
The modern elite athlete knows that physical conditioning and good nutrition are critical in reaching peak athletic performance; however, sleep, while often overlooked, plays an equally important role. In recent years, it’s become clear that the quality and quantity of sleep obtained by elite athletes can be the edge between winning and losing on game-day.
Why is sleep so important 

Growth hormone (sometimes known as HGH) is released while we are in deep sleep, is an important part of the body’s endocrine system. It is essential for muscle repair, muscle building, bone growth and promoting the oxidation of fats. 

This is critical for performance 

Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone is regulated in deep sleep. Cortisol levels directly impact the body’s ability to digest glucose. Since endurance is based on our body’s ability to metabolize and synthesize glucose for later use, quality of sleep becomes even more important for athletes

So pretty much if you're working your ass off in the gym but not putting in the time to sleep and recover you are not doing yourself any favors.  

Aside from the recovery, lack of sleep will also lower mental performance, reaction time & motivation all of which are vital for being a top performer. 

For example, Lebron James gets 12 hours sleep per night, that's how much emphasis he puts on it. 

So here are my tips for getting the ultimate sleep. Particularly if you're someone who struggles to string together more than 6hrs… ZZZZZzzzzz

1. Start a journal 

 If its your thoughts that are keeping you up at night, you may need to clear your mind. 
Ideally, about an hour before bed, sit down and journal, what went well today? What can you do better tomorrow? What are the tasks that you have to complete/not forget about? Write it all down, once you have done that let them go out of your mind and remind yourself that there is nothing you can do about those tasks until tomorrow.

You can also keep the journal by your bed so if you tend to wake up in the middle of the night with things that you need to remember you can quickly write it down and not stress about trying to remember it the next day.

2.  Stay away from technology for 60mins before bed. 

 Stop answering txts, FB messages, emails etc one hour before you want to go to sleep. Use this time to read and prepare for bed and start relaxing. 

3.  Remove your phone from your room. 

If you use it as your alarm get your hands on a “old school alarm” that way you will have no distractions in the room. Not only is your phone a distraction but the lights can play havoc with your ability to sleep.

4. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. 

A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.

Something like ROMWOD is very helpful for this I find, or alternatively some form of meditation 

5. Sex 

Sex can actually make it easier to fall asleep. This is mostly because of the hormones that are released during. Sex boosts oxytocin (a hormone that makes you feel connected to your partner) and lowers cortisol (a stress-related hormone). Plus, having an orgasm releases a hormone called prolactin, which makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. All of that leads up to a nice, drowsy state that’s perfect for cuddling up and falling asleep. 

6.  Rain noise

Some people find that rain noise is soothing and helps them sleep, you can download lots of free apps to help with this.

7.  Avoid caffeine in the afternoon  

If you're struggling to sleep avoid anything that may energise you, once you start having better sleeps you will have less need for caffeine. 

8. Don't drink too much liquid before bed

You may get to sleep and then need to wake up to go to the toilet that will disrupt your sleep patterns 

9.  Blackout curtains 

 Blackout curtains help keep your room super dark which promotes a deeper more restful sleep. Another alternative is a blackout eye mask.

10.  See the Doc

If you’re still having trouble after all of these then don't be afraid to go see a doctor or talk to a sleep specialist

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