You’ve heard how important it is to get 7-9 hours of good sleep each night. This is when your body heals itself. When thinking about recovery most athletes think about sore muscles, but you also need to consider your structural system of ligaments, tendons and joints, your hormonal system, and your neurological system.
The demands of daily life and heavy training take a toll and if you skimp on sleep it will cost you. So, in addition to making sure your schedule allows enough time, here are some additional things you can do to make your sleep count and maximize your overnight recovery. Imagine going to sleep as Clark Kent and waking up as Superman!
Make sure you are getting enough water throughout the day, especially before, during and after training. In order for your body to be efficient with repairs and growth it needs to be hydrated properly. Drinking water throughout the day is better than trying to drink a large amount right before bed.
Avoid stimulants after 3pm
A lot of athletes have a bit of a slump a couple hours after lunch and might grab a coffee, energy drink, or energy supplement. Caffeine can stay active in the bloodstream for up to 5 hours and has a greater effect on men than women, according to recent studies. Some stimulants popular in herbal energy supplements can remain active as long as 8 hours. No stimulants after lunch is the best policy, but the later in the afternoon you take them, the more chance they will interfere with your natural sleep cycles.
Avoid Electronic Screen Use for 1 hour before bed
Studies show a dramatic improvement in overall sleep quality and time to fall asleep when participants avoided all electronic screen use for at least one hour before bed. This means turning off the TV, iPhone or computer a little earlier. You can use this time to catch up on reading (perhaps JJM?) or doing some…
Yoga before bed improves sleep. Even if you don’t have time for a full practice, a simple slow yoga sequence just before bed will help you physically and psychologically prepare for a good night’s sleep.
If you only have 10 minutes, try this simple practice just before climbing into bed. You can thank me in the morning.
You can purchase all of the individual supplements listed in the article, but we’ve found several products that combine ingredients to offer a ready-made solution for athletes. Here are our favorites:
Ronnie Coleman’s Resurrect-P.M.
Resurrect-P.M. is the unique combination of ingredients that Ronnie took while competing in order to maximize his recovery. Ronnie was known to sleep only 5 hours a night, and when questioned about how he managed to recover with so little sleep, he replied that he slept HARD. This formula is designed to replicate his experience and pack 8 hours of sleep into a 5-hour night.
Q5’s Overnight Recovery MaxiStak
MaxiStak is designed to help your body produce the maximum possible natural level of growth hormone during sleep, so that you wake up well rested with fewer aches and pains. Your body produces less growth hormone as you age and this formula was designed to offset that loss. It works best on grapplers over 30.
SNAC ZMA -5
SNAC ZMA-5 combines a unique formulation of zinc, magnesium, vitamin B-6, and 5-HTP to increase slow wave sleep (deep sleep stages 3 and 4) and REM sleep (dreaming). This formula is designed to help improve the quality of sleep without making you sleep longer or wake up groggy.