Sleep, The Missing Link In Your Recovery

Possibly one of the most important things you can do for your body other than eating right, is to get the proper amount of sleep.  I know, you are busy!  I know you are up and down all night with the kiddos (and pets).  But you have to sleep if you want your body to fight off all the nasty germs/illnesses and recover from your training plan.  It’s a must.

train-eat-sleep

This is all I could think about last night as I was up and down a billion times with my dogs.  We had a rough one last night and every time I went up and down the stairs, my legs were screaming at me.  My left foot hurts and my legs are fatigued.  On a good note, next week I get to cut back on workouts to freshen up for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  On a bad note, I’m pretty crabby.

There is a great article by Jeff Kuhland on rest and recovery HERE, which outlines 7 “elements” for rest and recovery.  The #1 “essential element” is sleep.  See the excerpt from the article below:

Sleep is the most important time to recover. Adequate levels of sleep help to provide mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. You need to get enough sleep, which is between seven to ten hours for most athletes. Everyone has individual needs based on their lifestyle, workouts, and genetic makeup. 

  • Hours slept before twelve at night are proven to be more effective than those slept after.
  • Sleep in the most natural setting possible, with minimal to no artificial lights.
  • Wakeup with the sun if possible.
  • Fresh air and cooler temperatures help to improve the quality of sleep.

Seven to 10 hours of sleep per night.  Who is getting that?  And who is able to wait til the sun comes before they have to wake up?  Not me, or anyone else I know.  So what can we do about it?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Go to bed earlier.  I’ve been going “upstairs” early.  Like between 7:45 & 8:30pm.  Some days it feels like a punishment.  Other days it’s a relief to get Mr. Michael settled early and have a bit of quiet in the house before sleepy time. 
  • Drink hot tea or take a hot shower before bed to relax. 
  • Use that crockpot & try to get dinner on the table earlier so that you aren’t cleaning up the dinner plates and rushing the little ones to bed at 8pm.  So hard for me.  I had everything cleaned up by 7 or 7:15p last night and it felt like a huge win. 
  • Read, write or do something for “you” directly before you turn out the lights.  Step away from the kiddos for a minute and just breathe.  Yoga, anyone?
  • Get that workout in before dinner so that your endorphins have time to dissipate before bedtime.  I’ve never been a fan of the evening workout but when I hit a workout after work, I keep it short & sweet with lower intensity. 
  • Avoid alcohol before bed.  Article HERE from the Cleveland Clinic on what happens when you drink alcohol before bed.  Think scary nightmares, sleep walking and frequent waking. 

nightcap-excerpt

  • No hydrating after dinner.  I have a huge issue with this and usually drink a glass of water after dinner.  That combined with my high water intake during the day leads to frequent potty breaks at night.  I need to be better about this.  My old weim wakes me up 2-3x a night to potty.  It’s super frustrating when I have to get up before her and then I have 3 dogs ready to go outside.  Yes, I have 3 dogs, which leads to the last thing.
  • We aren’t supposed to sleep with our pets.  If you have a dog, or two, or more in your bed at night, I don’t have to tell you why.  This graphic says it all.  My lovlies cause me a lot of unrest at night.  But I still love them and wouldn’t change a thing.

sleep with your dog

Do yourself and your body a favor and try to get some extra rest.  I know I can’t make up for sleep deprivation but sometimes on the weekend I like to lay down and rest for a bit mid day.  Makes me happier and allows me to stay up longer with the kiddos for fun things like movie night.  If you need me, I’ll be thinking about sleeping cuz I’m a little short on it for the week. 

Any other suggestions on sleeping, getting to sleep or staying asleep?  Let us know!

** Sleep to Recover ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Self-Destructive Habits…..

As I was walking to work today, one too many people blew smoke in my face.  I was irritated.  Smoking seems to be the one bad habit of OTHERS that I can’t avoid.  I hope that I am wrong but smokers seem to just not care about the rest of us in their quest to get high off their nicotine.  They don’t care that they smell bad, or that their clothes and cars reek, that the smell of smoke lingers in an aura around them following them everywhere:  into their house, into their bedrooms, onto the train, into the office, on their children and everything they touch.  They not only smell bad but if you have had a relationship with a smoker you know the taste is also horrid.  It comes out of their lungs when they breathe, it’s not just on their breath, it’s INSIDE OF THEM and it’s impossible to get away from it.

Since I work downtown, I encounter a lot more people in a normal day than say somebody who just drives to their job, parks in the parking lot and walks inside.  Over the course of a 15 minute walk from the train to my office, I may encounter several thousands of people.  Those people are all shapes, sizes and have different interests and habits.  Those of us who take the train, know that we have smokers who are standing by the doors to disembark first and they light up immediately as the train doors open.  They take that first puff, which must be an amazing high since they can’t even wait to get off the train, and then they blow that smoke right back at all of us who are behind them.  Wow, great way to start my day by having to suck in somebody else’s smoke.  Somebody I don’t know, somebody I don’t like/love so I shouldn’t have to deal.  It sucks. I’m tired of it. 

The smoking issue got me thinking about habits in general and specifically self-destructive habits.  Some of us have self-destructive habits that don’t affect others as much as say smoking.

Can you think of a few self-destructive habits that are somewhat common?  Here is the list which immediately popped up for me:

  • Smoking – Yuck, nobody likes this except the smoker themselves.  It’s a disgusting habit, uncleanly and affects others, it’s an addiction that apparently people can’t control, it kills the addict one day at a time.  Click HERE to find out more about how smoking is killing you or your loved ones.
  • Drinking in Excess – Alcohol leads to some good times…..sometimes too good!  I like it a lot; it doesn’t like me.  I have to be very careful with alcohol because my brain doesn’t have a stop button.  I’m probably considered an addict since my brain just keeps telling me to drink more and never gives me the stop signal.  Therefore, I have cut it out of “most” of my life.  Alcohol kills brain cells, leads to bad decisions, impairs memory/judgment/reactions.  It destroys the person from the inside out.  If you use alcohol every day and have been doing so for a prolonged period of time, click HERE to see what other people see in you:  slurred & slow speech even when you are sober, poor memory, difficult learning.  If you are a woman, you are even more susceptible to alcohol disease than men.  If you are a man and are taking your lady to the bar all the time for “dates”, you are killing her.  Maybe go for a walk, a bike ride, to a movie, or check out a local museum or festival.   Don’t be afraid to get creative; we like adventure! 
  • Overeating –  Another one of my favorites!  I am a total overeater.  I am better now than I used to be but I still binge on holiday candy and overeat at meals.  According to WomenFitness.netFor some women overeating means bingeing and for others it means consuming more or other than planned. Most of us are overeating for a hundred different reasons. We are eating due to stress, irritation and frustration. It may be worry or overwork. We eat because our stomach feels ‘blah’. We are eating out of habit and with no real direction or thoughts about what we are doing with our face in the fridge.  Obviously, this is bad, it’s not healthy, and we can’t use food or smoking or alcohol to fix our problems, it just causes different problems!  Please go to the WomenFitness article HERE to identify overeating triggers and tips on how to avoid overeating.
  • Negative Thinking – Did you realize that negative thoughts are self-destructive?  Are you the person that see the glass half empty rather than half full?  I try to keep my family focused on thinking positive, which is really a full-time job.  I am constantly reminding them to “Think Happy Thoughts!”, “Be Happy”, “Smile”, “Be Nice”, “Tell me one HAPPY thing about today!”.  This is as much about me as it is about them.  I know that nobody is going to conquer the world by negative pessimism.  Click HERE to find out how to conquer negative thinking. You can honestly change your life by changing the way you approach things and by maintaining a happy, positive outlook on life. Don’t assume things are going to go poorly, assume that you are going to kick ass at everything you attempt!  You don’t have to be the best, but you will be BETTER by knowing that you are AWESOME!
  • Sleep Deprivation – Ha, Ha!  Yep, this too is self-destructive!  Not something that us busy people want to hear but we absolutely need to sleep.  While we are sleeping our body is repairing the damage we did during the day.  Your brain neurons and muscles are regenerating, your body is revitalizing itself to work hard for you when you awake.  Sleep Deprivation can cause memory loss, headaches, weakened immune system, and depression to name a few.  It was hard to find an article that was not “too” scientific in regard to sleep deprivation but if you need more information, there is a plethora of info and details HERE.

We could go on and on identifying self-destructive habits/behavior but the bottom line is that you get to choose your habits.  You pick.  Rule your life, don’t let your additions and bad habits rule you. Stop making excuses and using vices, or food, to provide temporary comfort.  Nobody is perfect so just deal with the situation and move on, you’ll be happier for it in the long run.  Speaking of “run”, lots of problems get sorted out when you exercise.  Go burn some calories and you may be surprised at how the problem that was so horrid “before the run” becomes just a bump in the road after a mile or two.  Take time to step back, cool off and focus on the “positive”.    

What bad habits do you have that you are planning to kick to the curb?  Any advice for those of us who are struggling with some of the above habits?

Take Control of YOUR Life,                                                                                          Amanda – TooTallFritz