It goes without saying that we put incredible stress on our body and mind during high intensity CrossFit workouts. Couple that with a hectic 50 hour work week, city traffic, social media, you name it – and we have a recipe for chronic fatigue.
In a recent online article published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it was reported over 60% of American adults suffering from a variety of sleep disorders.
But what if I could show you one tip to improve your performance over night? Sleep and proper rest are one of the most over looked and under-rated workout strategies that we know. Not only do experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep – but the quality of your sleep matters.
Lets face it… sleep is not sexy like learning the latest snatch technique or carving a minute off your Fran time.
But sleep is one of the easiest things we can improve without a high speed weightlifting coach or extra funds withdrawn from our bank account.
“Sleep is the best meditation.” Dalai Lama
Check out these tips to help your restore your body and mind to hit your peak performance.
Most days, plan 15 to 40 minutes of intense training in your routine. But once a week take that same time and schedule some quality shut-eye.
On a recovery day, try scheduling 15 to 40 minutes of extra sleep into your day. Improved sleep equals improved performance. The key is in how you sleep and rest.
1. Do a short and slow mobility workout before going to sleep. Drink a half liter of filtered water and keep the other half next to the bed. The mobility work will help your muscles to release toxins and lactic acid. This prevents you from waking up in the morning so sore that you cant get out of bed.
2. Sleep in a cool room or one with a fan or with the window open (with a screen if needed) in the warmer months. A cool room is helpful because body temperature drops during sleep. Sleeping too warmly increases the pulse rate which then makes it more difficult for the body to relax enough to sleep soundly.
3. Take breaks during the day if you can. I know we all live hectic lives but laying down on the couch for 30 minutes can rest your mind and help rejuvenate you.
“Naps can restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and accidents. A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness 100%.” -The National Sleep Institute
4. Vigorous exercise for at least an hour a day insures the body will be tired at night. I dont think many of your CrossFit athletes have to worry much about that one.
5. Take a yoga class and stretch the body and rest the mind. It is said that twenty minutes of yoga can equal a 2 hour nap. At home you can perform a simple Legs-Up-The-Wall or Viparita Karani Pose if you don’t have time to get to a formal class.
6. Sleep in complete darkness. Shut off the hall and bathroom lights. Sleeping in darkness increases the production of Melatonin which helps us fall asleep faster and sleep better.
7. Treat yourself to a deep tissue massage along with a therapeutic recovery. This can help increase blood flow and heal injuries that may keep you up at night. This will also allow your body and mind to relax allowing you to sleep easier that night. If you don’t have time for a massage then break out the foam roller and do it yourself.
8. Drink a glass of milk as this helps fuel the brain with carbohydrates and allowing the body to relax. Does that bring back soothing childhood memories?
9. In Coach Mark Divine’s lectures at SEALFit Kokoro he speaks about resting your mind and avoiding the excess daily chaos that comes with a continual digital media presence of TV, smart phones, traffic and congestion. Unclutter your life and disconnect from some of the excess tension to help rest your mind and body.
10. Eat very little within two hours of bedtime. Dont stuff your face with a pound of steak 30 minutes before you lay down. Your body does not process food at the same rate while sleeping so avoid heavy meals before sleeping.
11. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. It has been reported that we are a sleep deprived caffeine fueled nation as we get on average only 6 hours of sleep and drink 3.5 cups of coffee a day. Together, 400 million cups of coffee a day are consumed by 100 million Americans. That may not be a good combination for the long term to rest your mind and body.
12. Breathe Deep. Long and deep breathing sets the stage for the body to wind down to enable falling asleep quickly.
About the Author:
Brad McLeod knows first hand about sleep deprivation and mental toughness after being kicked out of a top tier Spec Ops training unit. He failed out of Navy SEAL BUD/S training the first time after failing a math test (made it through Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp). He came back a year later and graduated and worked as an operator on the Navy SEAL Teams with 6 years of military service.
Today he is one of the most sought after mental conditioning coaches in the world having recently returned from Ireland, Southern California, Pennsylvania and parts unknown in north Florida. SEALgrinderPT audios and Ebooks have been downloaded in 20 different countries around the globe. Contact Brad [email protected]. Check out SEALgrinderPT to help you step up and take hold of your dreams and realize your goals.