Scientific research makes clear that sleep is essential at any age. Sleep powers the mind restores the body and fortifies virtually every system in the body. Very few people manage to stick to strict bedtime routines. Your routine depends on what works for you, but the most important thing is working out a routine that is doable and that you can stick to!
Tips on sticking to a sleeping routine
Regular sleeping hours- This programmes the brain and internal body clock to get use to a set routine. Most adults need between 6-9 hours of sleep every night. Work out what time you need to be awake in the morning and work back from there. Waking up at the same time every day also helps to create a good routine. Catching up on sleep where some was lost can cause for sleep disturbance and hinder daily activities.
Wind down- Winding down is crucial in the stage of preparing for bed. Things you can do to aid this process are;
- Warm baths
- Writing a ‘to do’ list
- Relaxation exercises
- Sleep apps/white noise
Make your room ‘sleep friendly’- It should be a relaxing environment, there is a strong association in people’s minds between sleep & bedrooms. Certain things can weaken this such as; TV’s, phones, light, noise, and a bad mattress. Ideally try and keep your bedroom solely for sleep! Aim for a temperature of 18oc – 24oc.
Keep a sleep diary- Tracking your sleep like this may help to uncover triggers in your lifestyle that are affecting your sleep. In addition, keeping a diary can help manage stress which can also be a contributor to disturbed sleep.
How can sleep influence recovery from sport or injury?
Although sport- related activities are usually views as being beneficial for recovery from work-related effort, sport activities in itself are also demanding and – without adequate recovery- may lead to negative consequences such as injury or increased fatigue. Sufficient sleep is important to athletes and sport goers who are injured, travelling a lot or experiencing heavy periods of training. A lack of sleep can present itself with reductions in cognitive and motor performance, reaction times and mood state/emotional stability. Poor sleep has bene known to be a marker for under recovery and the early sign of overreaching.
Adequate sleep can help with;
Reduced muscle soreness
Dilation and improved blood flow to areas
Pain management while sleeping (cold water immersion or compression garments)
Who would have thought sleep would be SO important! Hope you enjoyed reading this week’s blog… Now go get some sleep!
BSc Hons Sports Therapy MSST
MSc Strength and Conditioning