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