While it’s always worth focusing on your training and diet, there’s another vital element to recovery – sleep. Let competitive fitness athlete Kandace Hudspeth tell you how to get the right kind of shut-eye so you’re always energized.
Healthy sleep hygiene is a critical element to your productivity in the office and the gym. And with the year firmly underway you’re probably smack-bang in the middle of key projects for the first half of the year, as well as hitting your stride in your training cycle. This is typically the point in time where your super-woman powers are feeling a little taxed and that semi-exhausted feeling of self doubt sets in.
One of the first things I evaluate when I hit this wall is my sleep hygiene. It is one of the things that slips first when time becomes a limiting factor to you accomplishing all that you have on your plate. It’s so easy to stay up a few extra hours to grind it out, but then one night turns into three and before you know it you’re running on minimal sleep week after week.
When you’re feeling sluggish, ask yourself: ‘What has my sleep schedule been like over the last few weeks?’ Then: ‘Have I consistently gone to bed and woken up at the roughly same times each day?’ And finally: ‘Am I getting at least six (preferably eight) hours of sleep a night?’ This normalcy helps your body know when to be alert and when to rest.
Forcing yourself to stick to a sleep routine will make a world of difference for your energy levels in the office and in the gym. Outside of setting your target sleep and wake times, creating a better pre-bed routine will better enable a sound sleep.
Switch off, literally
During the hour before your target sleep time, stop all work and/or digital browsing and communications. Technology before bed will stimulate your brain when you should be sending it calming signals. Wrap up those emails and draft tomorrow’s to-do list at least an hour before bed. Soak in the tub, give yourself a mini facial, meditate, stretch or foam roll and hit the sack. Turn your phone on to ‘do not disturb’ mode – what ever it is can wait until the morning.
Rise for the day at your target wake time. Force yourself to skip the snooze, head straight to the kitchen, drink a glass of water, make coffee and listen to the news or your favorite playlist. Get going with your day. Be diligent about keeping this sleep pattern. In a few days you’ll begin to feel refreshed, more alert and focused throughout the day. That’s how you achieve your best results, day in and day out.
Find health tips and more in every issue of TRAIN for HER magazine.