Everyone knows about the importance of sleep and yet so many neglect it. Here are a few examples of WHAT can be negatively affected by insufficient sleep: this includes neurocognitive function (it affects your attention and memory), it affects your physical health (so you are more likely to get ill, it’s also harder to lose or maintain weight). And, if you are an athlete or you just like going to a gym and workout, your athletic performance, like speed and endurance, can be negatively affected, too. In addition to that, you have a higher risk of getting an injury.
So, the question is, how can you improve your sleep quantity and quality, and how can you improve your recovery and sports performance by that, and well.. just feel refreshed and rested!
Here are my top tips based on scientific research AND my own experience using my own data from my WHOOP strap.
For those who don’t know, Whoop is a fitness tracker, which is collecting data about your daily activity strain, sleep and recovery. If you decide to give it a try, you can save $30, just click here.
Improve your sleep duration
- GET YOUR 8 hours of sleep! Actually, the perfect sleep duration varies from person to person and it is also different for you day by day, depending on your activity level and required recovery for that particular day, and for example on how long your sleep was that day or even days before. But 8 hours would be a great starting point.
- If you can’t get your 8 hours of sleep at once, at night for example, then try to incorporate some naps into your daily routine, so that by the end of the day you get your 8 hours. And, if for example, you are a mom, nap when your baby naps, too.
- What if you didn’t get your 8 hours today and not even yesterday? Well, easily put, your sleep need increases. If you slept yesterday for 7 hours but needed 8, your today’s sleep need might be 9 hours instead of 8.
Improve sleep environment
- Make sure your room is dark and cool, your bed is comfortable.
- Avoid any blue light or screen light before going to bed.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages at least 2 to 4 hours before going to sleep
- Also, for some people, it’s much harder to fall asleep if they have trained shortly before going to bed.
- Create a sleep routine which you repeat every day
- Sleep consistency is also very important, so try to go to bed and wake up at the same time.
A few more tips
- 8 hours in bed are not 8 hours of sleep. Usually, it takes some time to fall asleep and it’s also ok to have awake phases during the night as well. So, take this into consideration when you set your alarm.
- Long sleep doesn’t necessarily mean great recovery. Sleep is a great part of recovery, but recovery is also influenced by many other factors, such as hydration, nutrition, and stress factors, just to name a few. But anyway, if you want to make sure you get fit and you deliver a better performance in your workouts, make sure to make your sleep a priority!
And if you have any other tips on this topic, or maybe you have a wonderful sleep routine and you’re rested every single day, please share your experience with us in the comments!