Besides eating getting adequate sleep is the most important part of recovery. And if you are training hard like we do at CrossFit then you need to be maximizing your recovery.
But if you are like me (and like many CrossFitters) you have a million things on your mind. You go to bed thinking about work, family obligations, projects not yet completed, etc. Sleep can be elusive. Living in a city like Vancouver, even on Dunbar Street, there are ample distractions to keep you from sleep. So when you finally make it to bed how do you find your way past all your busy thoughts, cares and concerns to the deep, peaceful restorative sleep that your battered body needs?
Here are some strategies that might help:
1) Cut back on screen time in the later evening hours. Close your laptop, turn off your TV and put away your phone. The light from those screens is stimulating. Put them away an hour or more before bedtime to let your body relax and prepare for slumber.
2) Read fiction. I love learning and usually have some informative non-fiction books on hand at any given time. They are chock full of great ideas, actionable ideas, the exact type of ideas that I do not want circulating through my brain come bedtime. Instead I prefer to read some fiction at day’s end to draw my thoughts away from day-to-day real world concerns. And lying in bed turning pages my eyes feel suddenly heavy and sleep comes easier.
3) Chill out. Ambient temperature is directly related to sleep quality. A cool room signals your body that it is time to shut down. Turn down the thermostat and crawl under covers. Shuck the PJ’s. Seriously, probably for the same reason, studies found sleep quality improves when people sleep naked. And one other hack I’ve heard of but never needed to use: stick your bare feet out from under the covers.
4) And since you’re already naked: Sex. Get more of it if you can. Most people report sleeping better after sex. The hormone Oxytocin released during sex may play a role in relaxing. And don’t forget to cuddle afterwards. Even non-sexual bare skin contact between couples increases oxytocin. Sure beats sleeping pills!
6) Get Outside. Not at night, in the day time. Especially in nature. Sunlight and fresh air do wonders for your body and the vitamin D and melanin play critical roles in sleep.
7) Exercise, You knew this was coming, didn’t you? I’m a CrossFit coach after all. But seriously, when my body is exhausted sleep comes easy. On days when I have been relatively inactive sleep is hard to find. Want to discover what true full body exhaustion feels like come visit CrossFit and we’ll be happy to oblige https://www.empowereverybody.com/get-started/
8) Counting reps. Remember that old idea of counting sheep? Maybe it works for sheep farmers but it was always too abstract for me. But I do count reps. If I ever have a hard time sleeping I visualize tomorrow’s CrossFit WOD and I walk myself through it rep by rep. I rarely get past the first round before finding myself in dreamland.
Do you have any effective sleep secrets to share? Post to comments.