In celebration of Sleep Awareness Week, SHEEX is sharing tips for you to follow on how you can sleep and perform like a pro. To reap the benefits of counting sheep for a sound night's sleep, it pays to be active. That's right! Your sleep quality truly is connected to your overall health. Whether you're an active athlete or an armchair point guard, we have some tips that will help bring out the workout warrior in you. According to the National Sleep Foundation, "lots of physical activity puts more demand on muscles and tissues and the body repairs itself during slumber. Sleep not only helps your body recover, it's also a surefire performance booster."
Do you take regular naps? Stick to a daily sleep schedule? Have you created a peaceful space in your bedroom? We have seven performance and sleeping tips to improve your sleep no matter how athletic you consider yourself to be.
1. Make your bedroom a retreat.
It's important to keep the bedroom for just sleep. According to a study on Sleep and Athletic Performance conducted by Andrew M. Watson, "proper sleep hygiene is important for all athletes, including a proper sleep environment and schedule. Sleeping environments should be comfortable, cool, dark, without electronic devices and with minimal ambient noise or distraction." Entering into the boundaries of your bedroom will help you feel like the rest of the day is in the past. Disconnect from the world, because we promise it will be there tomorrow.
2. Stick to a routine.
When you practice good sleeping habits, your mind and body will thank you for creating a sleep routine that caters to your active self. Having a consistent bedtime and wake-up call every single day will keep you from getting out of sync. If your routine falls to the wayside, you can experience fatigue and mood swings that will cause problems during work or play.
3. Schedule your workout time to improve your sleep quality.
Cardio workouts in the morning benefit your sleep and attitude throughout the rest of the day. If you're working on weight training, this can be done at night so your muscles can relax soon after. According to Watson, "variation in training times should be minimized, and early morning and late evening training and competitions should be avoided." Choose what kind of workout routine works best for you and stick with your plan.
4. Work on improving your bedtime routine.
Try going to bed earlier than usual, and be sure to get at least seven hours of sleep. "Athletes getting at least nine hours of sleep a night are more likely to do higher-intensity workouts such as weightlifting, biking, or running," according to the National Sleep Foundation. Turn the TV off, take a hot shower, lay out your workout gear for the next day and do whatever relaxes you. Whether it be stretching or reading a book, giving your mind and your body a chance to relax before getting in bed will allow your muscles to heal while setting the scene for an inspiring day ahead.
5. Perform yoga before going to bed.
No matter if you're an experienced yogi or amateur wannabe, yoga before bed is the perfect way to wind down — especially for the athlete. Stepping onto the four corners of your mat before bed can ease tense muscles while also giving you peace of mind before collapsing into our ridiculously soft sheets. Challenge yourself to bend a little. While you're at it, avoid Savasana because that will definitely put you to sleep before you're ready to call it a night.
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6. Engage in breathing techniques before falling asleep.
Methodical breathing before sleep is a natural aid and can assist in a better night's rest no matter how exhausted your body or mind may be. For athletes and the non-coordinated alike, a simple breathing exercise before sleep can help you wind down from an active day. From deep abdominal breathing with slow and conscious breaths to the 4-7-8 method, you can slip into a slumber that will improve your overall sleep quality. This will make your 5:30 a.m. workout a lot easier, right?
7. Make sure to take power naps.
You read that correctly! You don't have to be a kid to squeeze in a nap. According to Sleep Review: The Journal for Sleep Specialists, re-game naps are highly recommended for athletes. "Naps can give you a temporary improvement in alertness and performance for a few hours." However, naps are not recommended if you are struggling to get sleep at night. Either way, it's up to you to figure out what works best for your body. Challenge yourself to a power nap before workouts and see what kind of results you achieve.