Do you ever fall asleep in front of your TV or Laptop? Do you use your phone in bed before you fall asleep? Do you wake up feeling unrested?
Most of us are guilty of at least some of these habits. Getting enough high quality sleep is essential to our recovery (both physical and mental). A lack of sleep can lead to all kinds of physiological problems and even negatively impact our ability to lose weight. Lack of sleep can cause an increase in gherlin and decreased leptin, which makes you more hungry and unable to recognize when you are feeling full. It can also increase our cortisol levels, leading to brain fog and lack of focus. Chronic insomnia causes extreme fatigue, and can reduce our concentration, reaction time as well as putting us at high risk for obesity and long term disease.
Recently, Tim Ferris interviewed LeBron James and his trainer, Mike Mancias, to find out what LeBron’s training and recovery looks like. LeBron’s trainer listed high quality sleep as the most important recovery tool and the highest priority in post game recovery. He makes sure everything in his room is controlled to set the best environment for quality sleep. This includes limiting blue light exposure, black out curtains, cool temperatures and going to sleep at approximately the same time every night. He also uses the “Calm” app, particularly the “Rain on Leaves” track to fall asleep. LeBron sleeps for 8-10 hours per night as well as having a nap. He states that there is nothing more important to recovery than optimal REM sleep for emotional and physical recovery.
- Caffeine- Try to limit your caffeine intake to before 4pm
- Switch off your electronic devices 1 hour before bed to avoid blue light exposure
- Practice Gratitude- Write down 3 things you are grateful for. You can also write down anything on your to do list for the following day. Putting them on paper will help get them off your mind so you can fall asleep.
- Use black out curtains and keep your room around 67 degrees F. Sleeping in a dark, cool room with clean sheet has been proven to help increase restorative sleep.
- White noise/sleep apps- I personally use the calm app from time to time when I’m really having trouble getting to sleep. They have a variety of meditations for sleep as well as white noise.
If sleep is made difficult by shift work, stress, or anxiety our Recovery Studio @recover.rx has many treatments that can help. A recovery circuit including NuCalm Performance can help to down regulate your Sympathetic nervous system and help your to get as much as 3 hours of restorative sleep in just 30 minutes. Follow this treatment with 30 minutes of Sunlighten Infrared Sauna which will leave your muscles feeling relaxed as well as decreasing your stress levels.
Massage therapy is another tool you can use to help improve sleep- According to the Mayo Clinic, massage therapy has been found beneficial for insomnia-related stress and anxiety as well. Massage therapy can reduce fatique and improve sleep while reducing symptoms of fibromyalgia and lower back pain. It is an effective treatment technique for conditions like anxiety, depression, chronic pain, fatigue and sleep. This is because massage therapy helps to stimulate production of serotonin, which can later be converted to melatonin. It is also helpful in hormonal regulation which can help decrease the stress hormone, cortisol.
Massage therapy, infrared sauna and NuCalm are all drug free options to help overcome insomnia. Because melatonin influences the sleep stage of an individuals circadian rhythm, a natural way of boosting serotonin is a positive sleep-inducing option.
According to research conducted by the Mayo Clinic, massage therapy can also help relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.