Are you training 5-7 times a week, tracking all of your calories, and drinking plenty of water, but still feel like your fitness gains are coming up short? There is a secret ingredient that all the masters of the universe know...
SLEEP!! And not just go to bed because it's "bed time," sleep, you need great sleep!
Now, I'm no scientist and there are a million articles and hundreds of books on the effects of quality vs poor sleep patterns. What I can offer are some tips to help you get a better night's sleep and show you some of the benefits of that quality sleep.
Let's start with the benefits!
If anything, getting a good night's sleep simply improves your overall quality of life. It's an intangible effect that you really only notice on "bad" days when you blame your crappy sleep from the night before! Have you ever had a great day and thought, " What a great day! I'm glad I got such a good night's sleep!" Maybe sometimes?
How much sleep do you need? Studies suggest active adults need between 7-9 hours each night. If you're getting less than seven, please take a serious look at your schedule and try to add an extra hour or two of bedtime. Here are some things we can all do to improve our quality(and length) of sleep:
If finding a routine is difficult or you have crazy bed time kids, try and put a plan together for your whole family. Instead of watching a tv show before bed, make that family reading time. Read a book together or everyone reads their own for 15-20 mins.
Just like nutrition and fitness, it's best to keep it simple and not create another stressor in your life. If you don't have a watch that can track sleep, many phones have apps built in so you can hit sleep as you turn off the lights and close your eyes and hit wake up when you get up. Try really tracking your sleep for one week and take notes about how you feel. The next week, see if you can hit the sack 30 mins earlier each night.
I have been using a WHOOP strap since this summer and it's in depth tracking of my daily strain, recovery, and SLEEP, have been so detrimental to my daily life. Little things like tracking my hydration and then reading the weekly and monthly report on how well my sleep was effected on days I hydrated properly, has made a huge difference. If you're in the market for a strap, check it out!
Other great fitness trackers:
FitBit VERSA 3
Good luck and sleep well!!