During The Day
Recovery starts as soon as you get up, so take note of these practices to help kickstart yours.
- Stay hydrated (approx 30ml per 1kg of bodyweight).
- Eat enough good food (even when dieting, make sure to not deviate too far from maintenance calories).
- Exercise! Those who exercise, sleep better. It’s a fact!
- Try to keep your stress levels down. Easier said than done. If you are stressed, do things that make you happy or calm. Trying a gratitude journal can also be a great idea!
- Don’t overdo the caffeine. If you find that caffeine affects your sleep, try limiting it to before 2pm. Everyone has a different tolerance to caffeine, so stick to a level that suits you and remember that caffeine can stay in your system for up to 10 hours!
One of the most important sleep practices is to maintain a sleep consistency.
- A consistent bedtime routine, sleep and wake schedule ensures your body is prepared to go to sleep, you’ll end up falling asleep faster and having a deeper more recuperative sleep if your body knows its time for bed
- Some pre bed practices to avoid are: consuming alcohol, blue light (mobile/computers), eating right before bed.
- Some pre bed practices which assist the body in getting ready for sleep; a warm bath/shower, stretching, meditation, reading and journaling.
In The Bedroom
Creating an optimal sleep environment will go a long way towards your recovery.
- Ideally, find the right mattress, pillow (memory foam) and blankets (weighted) for your style of sleep.
- Keep your room cool, whether it’s via a fan, air conditioning or breeze. Nothing disrupts my sleep more than being hot and sweaty.
- Total darkness is required for optimal deep sleep. Whether you find this through blackout curtains or a sleep mask. This has been a game changer for me in recent times.
Supplements can definitely assist you when it’s time to switch off and sleep.
- The PEAK Chocolate REST is specially formulated with chamomile, decaf green tea, zinc, magnesium and L-Tryptohphan which are all proven to be sleep inducers. As part of a pre sleep routine, it also tells your body that you’re ready to switch off. You can grab Rest Chocolate here or Rest Drinking Chocolate here.
Ultimately, sleep is the most important tool when it comes to recovery. Driving a vehicle sleep deprived has been compared to driving drunk. Our decision making process is impaired, leading us to make bad decisions. A lack of sleep also triggers increased levels of ghrelin, a hormone which increases hunger, explaining those food cravings after a short or disrupted night of sleep.
If you're looking to improve performance whether it be for fitness, work or just general day-to-day energy levels, you should be taking your sleep and recovery seriously. Different methods work for different people, so it is important to test and trial different techniques and see what works for you.