Improve Your Fitness By Making Sleep a Priority
Strength not keeping up? Conditioning seeming harder than ever? Feeling like you’re not making enough progress? The answer might not lie with what you’re doing in the gym. Rather, it might have more to do with what you’re doing (or not doing) in the bedroom.
And it all starts with sound sleep.
Sleep impacts performance — strength, endurance, speed, etc. — in more ways than one. Sleep is when growth hormone hits its peak, making a crucial stage for muscle growth and rebuilding. It’s a chance for your central nervous system (CNS) to rest and recovery, and it’s also a mental break built into our bodies over millions of years of evolution.
Need some tips for sleep hygiene? There are tons of great resources on the web, but the most important step is to prioritize your rest. And heads up, smartphone addicts: That means putting away electronics at least a half hour before bedtime, and reserve the bed itself for sleep (and certain more fun activities) — just not electronics or reading. They can make it difficult for your body to automatically associate the bed and your bedroom environment with rest.
It’s also important to take a look at your current sleeping conditions. Is the surface you’re sleeping on keeping you up at night? Is your bed or boxspring worn out, causing you to sleep in a comfortable position? Mattresses don’t last forever; shop around and test some different types of mattresses (many manufacturers have good return policies these days). And these days, some mattresses are even produced with athletes specifically in mind.
Most importantly, remember to get plenty of sleep after exhausting training days and difficult WODs. Sometimes, that means actually scheduling sleep on your calendar or to-do list. It’s going to help you come back stronger and faster than ever — and the Miami Beach coaches will love to see you at your rested best!