I am the queen of being asleep before 10pm. I can frequently be found leaving the bar early, falling asleep mid movie and sleeping through an entire flight. I’m #teamsleep because I’m a better functioning human when I’m well rested but also because sleep is crucial for recovery.
Why is sleep so important for recovery and achieving your fitness goals? Lack of adequate sleep reduces the capacity of physiological changes that happen when you’re sleeping that allow your body to adapt from the stresses of training. If you’re not allowing your body to properly reload overnight you’ll feel more fatigued the next day and workouts may feel harder than they normally would. Rest & recovery could be the #1 thing holding you back from achieving your fitness goals.
Getting 7-8 hours of sleep seems simple in concept but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here’s some tips and tricks I use to get to bed earlier, fall asleep quicker and earn my grandma status:
Blue light is the silent killer of quality sleep. Endless scrolling might:
A. Keep you up longer than anticipated and
B. Impact the actual quality of your sleep
A lot of experts recommend no phone or tv usage for 1 hour before bed. That’s not always super realistic so I shoot for no phones in my bed. I can stay on my couch and scroll as long as I want but as soon as I get into bed I don’t touch my phone again.
Do Not Disturb
Let’s just get all the phone tips out of the way first. I aim to be asleep by 9-10pm every night so my phone goes on do not disturb at 8:30pm. Not only am I less likely to mindlessly pick up my phone without notifications but it also starts allowing me to wind down for the day and de-stress. If you feel the need to respond to notifications ASAP this could be a great strategy for you. Try giving yourself at least 30min of no notifications before bed to help you wind down.
If you’re a fellow overthinker like I am your mind may race a million miles a minute as soon as your head hits the pillow. Remember that semi awkward encounter you had 2 months ago with that random person at the grocery store? Now would be the perfect time to relive that!
You can combat this by focusing on your breath. Take big belly breaths and count as you breathe in and out. If you find your mind wandering, bring yourself back to your breath and start over at 0. If you’re newer to this style of breathing, a guided meditation might be useful! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I still use the same janky free guided meditation that I have been since college.
Sleep is an incredibly important tool to help you reach your fitness goals. Take the time to practice 1 or all of these strategies and see what resonates with you. Try creating your own bedtime routine as well. If you find something new that works for you share it here!