Sleep – Are you getting enough?
Written by Reece Reynolds
Sleep – something we can all RX right? But do we really understand the importance of how much rest we are getting and how making small changes, to life long habits, could make us healthier and happier?
Lets start simple. How much sleep are you getting? “People who, on average, sleep less than 7 hours per night, are considered sleep deprived.”
It’s important to understand that everyone is different. In the same way eating certain foods will effect people differently, the amount of sleep an individual needs also varies. Some people may find they feel fully rested after 6 hours sleep – some might need 10 hours, it’s a learning process that might take some experimentation.
However, if you’re reading this you’re probably not average. You’re into training and probably training at a CrossFit gym. This means, whether you realise it or not, you’re training as an athlete. Training with high intensity, heavy weights and gymnastics all multiple times a week is tough. If you’re training like this you NEED your sleep. 8- 10 hours a night enables you to recover, not only from the muscular fatigue that comes with training but also the impact it has on your CNS (central nervous system). Think of it like this; when you train it’s like draining a battery, when you sleep, you charge it back up again!
The simplest way to find out if you’re getting enough sleep is to ask yourself two simple questions;
1 – When you wake up, could you go back to sleep again within a few hours?
2 – If it wasn’t for your alarm clock, would you have continued sleeping for a few hours?
If the answer to either of these is yes, the chances are you’re not getting enough.
But does it really matter?
In short – yes.
The effects of not enough sleep have been studied in depth time after time – after just one week of a shortened sleep cycle the bodies insulin levels change in such a way that you could be classed as pre-diabetic. Not enough sleep doesn’t just make you ill, it can contribute and even accelerate chronic diseases ranging from diabetes to Alzheimer’s.
So – what should we do? Stop training at 6am? – No, using sleep as a regular excuse to cut back on training is a slippery slope; and unnecessary.
We all have busy lives, and we all want to live healthier and happier. Little changes can go a long way, and turning those changes into habits can make huge differences to our performance and in every aspect of our lives.
So, lets round off with the best ways to help us get enough shut eye:
- Give yourself enough sleep potential – if you need to be up at 5:30am be in bed for 9:30pm
- No caffeine after lunch – not just coffee… tea, ice cream and most fizzy drinks contain caffeine which can stay active in your system for over 7hours
- Switch off – computers, tv’s, phone’s all off an hour before bed, wind down with a book or music to prevent any distortion in your body’s natural melatonin process.
- Create a bedtime routine – getting ready for bed should look similar everyday, whether it’s a bath, a shower, reading or journaling whatever helps you to wind down and be comfortable.
- Make your bedroom your sanctuary – this is place for rest and relaxation, keep it as such. If you can’t sleep don’t lie in bed and get worked up about it – try moving to another room and read until you’re ready to go back to your comfy bed.
Like anything worth doing getting enough sleep isn’t always easy but if you make a point of improving your recovery you really could see improvements in more ways than you can imagine.
If you’re having real trouble talk to a coach – we’re here to help and answer any questions we can!