By Victoria Athey BSc MSc MCSP. Physiotherapist and Sports Massage Therapist at 360Athletic
Decrease Injuries & Increase Fitness:
Sleep Your Way To Recovery
Okay so now we know WHY we need more sleep – (see part one) and we are all fully on board the early nights train! We want to get them extra hours to benefit our rehabilitation, fitness goals and prevention of injury. So HOW do we improve it?
360 Athletics Simple 2-Stage Sleep Strategy
1) Sleep extension
- Focus on extending sleep: This is number one for a reason as sleep extension has been shown to be the MOST beneficial for improving performance.
- 8-10 hours: Aim for 10 hours each night to reach your full potential but the key message is simply try to sleep a bit MORE.
- Minimum 1 week: Try for a minimum of 1 week before giving up – research has shown even this short effort of increased sleep duration can improve a whole host of performance measures
- Day napping: Didn’t achieve your target sleep last night? Not all is lost day time napping may help reduce the effects of sleep deprivation whilst also helping extend sleep. Stick to 30minutes and avoid doing this too close to bed-time.
2) Sleep hygiene
- Set a schedule and stick to it: try to maintain a regular schedule so your body knows when to expect to go to bed and wake up
- When restless do something simple: If your struggling to sleep and you’ve been trying for over 15minutes, try and perform an easy, mundane task
- Bed is for sleep only: Try to ditch the habit of using your bed for activities such as watching TV, eating or working.
- Avoid afternoon/evening stimulating drinks: Try not to have a coffee, alcohol or pre-workout type drinks in the hours before bed to prevent the stimulating effects ruining your sleep
- Check your room temp: You want to try a maintain a comfortable sleeping room temperature (suggested to be around 18 degrees)
- Avoid unnecessary waking reasons: Be conscious of any late night snacks or fluid intake which could lead to you waking before morning
REMEMBER all this advice and strategies must be tailored to your individual needs. Try to focus on what you need to improve, set yourself a realistic, achievable goal one at a time. You can use a sleep diary or your fit watch to help you monitor your sleep improvements! But its okay to find this difficult as creating change can be really challenging but now knowing the benefits you can focus on the positives of improving your sleeping habits. And through using these simple tricks you can start to make a positive improvement to your sleep, recovery, fitness and health!
If you’d like to learn more about recovery, rehabilitation, decreasing injury risk and exercise selection then join our 360 Athletic Training (online or in person) and book a physiotherapy session (online or in-clinic) today!
We are here to get you fitter and healthier!