"Diet and sleep are probably the two biggest tools to recover -- definitely something that's hard to do when you're traveling a lot. You have a busy, stressful schedule, but it's something you have to make a priority." - Steve Nash
We’re at the end of the sleep component….but you’re going to keep working at it. You know how important sleep is. You can’t be exhausted and lead a high performance life. You can’t drag around and be your best self when you're competing or at practise.
Here’s what you’ve achieved:
You learned that sleep maintains your health. You know that you build muscle and regulate appetite when you sleep well. And you know that your athletic performance is enhanced when you get enough sleep.
Here are the 7 micro-wins for sleeping soundly, performing better and being healthier.
1. Save your coffee for the morning. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that stays in your system for about six hours or even longer. Avoid foods or drinks with caffeine for 6-8 hours before your bedtime. That coffee after dinner is just not a good idea.
2. Defend your last hour. Our hectic lives mean that we often come home from school or practise jacked up and are still revved at bedtime. Create a calming ritual to help lower the cortisol in your body. Put aside your electronic devices by 8 p.m., and read in bed.
3. Your sleep cave should be pitch black. Light reduces your melatonin levels, and low melatonin can lead to disrupted sleep. Even light from your alarm clock is enough to wake you up. Keep it really, really dark.
4. Your sleep cave should be cool. Your body naturally cools down at night by about 0.3-0.4 degrees C, and that drop in temperature makes you drowsy. Keep the room no warmer than 19 degrees C to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
5. Sleep 8-10 hours per night. Sleeping 8-10 hours per night will keep you healthy and allow you to achieve a high-performance life. Make getting enough sleep a priority.
6. Snoozers are losers. Keeping a regular sleep cycle and clocking 9 hours of shut-eye means that you’re likely to wake up out of REM sleep. This is a good time to wake up, as you’ll feel refreshed. Hitting the snooze button means waking up out of Stage 1 or Stage 2 sleep – not good! You’ll feel groggy and gross. Don’t do it.
7. Be consistent. Our brains and bodies love regular routines. Not only are your hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin well regulated by a good sleep routine, you lower the amount of stress caused by constantly changing sleep and wake times. Sleep for at least 8 hours and keep your fall-asleep and wake-up times consistent.
There you have it, folks… all of the sleep wisdom wrapped up in a warm (but not too warm!) blanket to take into your (very dark and quite cool) bedroom with you. With this knowledge of practical things to do to improve your sleep, your days will be the best they can be.
Today's POWER-UP: Apply the 1% Better concept to your Sleep
Every night, you can make a 1% improvement to your sleep situation! Aim for 15 minute improvements and 1% better sleep. Micro-wins add up over time to change your athletic performance and your life!