What if I told you that sleeping more would solve your problems? You’d probably tell me it’s more complicated than that. You’re right. But stick with me for a moment:
The Benefits of Adequate Sleep Include:
- Increased overall physical performance, especially endurance (aka: increased ability to send)
- Muscle and tendon growth and repair (aka: faster recovery and the ability to build stronger muscles/tendons)
- Increased mental focus, alertness and memory retention (aka: learn and remember beta better/faster)
- Decreased appetite and body fat (aka: goodbye dieting and love handles)
- Better mental health (aka: avoid throwing a wobbler if you don’t send)
So maybe the above didn’t solve all your problems, but you’ll at least be climbing harder and happier, which will make the rest of life a little easier. And, now that you’re sold on the benefits of sleep:
How much sleep do we really need anyway?
While most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, the quality of your sleep matters more than the duration. So, 7 hours of high quality sleep might leave you feeling just as, if not more, rested than 9 hours of disrupted sleep. Athletes need even more quality sleep – up to 10 hours each night – to fully recover from a hard training session.
You have high quality sleep if you say “yes” to the following:
- I fall asleep in 30 minutes or less.
- I sleep at least 85 percent of the total time I’m in bed.
- I wake up no more than once each night.
What if you didn’t answer yes to all of the above? Don’t panic. I don’t either. Here’s how to fix it:
How to Boost Your Sleep Quality
- Establish a relaxing before-bed routine. Take a warm bath to relax your tired muscles; read a book; drink tea. Just stay away from bright screens – including your iPhone – and work-related activities.
- Create the optimal sleeping environment by keeping your room a cool 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit and investing in a quality mattress for better spinal alignment, support and temperature regulation. Limit distractions and stimulation by turning down bright lights, staying away from digital devices and turning off email notifications.
- Resist the temptation to sleep in, even on the weekends. Sleeping late disrupts your natural cycle and makes falling asleep the next night more difficult, continuing the stay-up-late/sleep-in-late cycle.
- Avoid exercise right before bed. Exercising during the day will tire one out and help you sleep. Training too close to bed, however, can have the opposite effect, leaving you wired and restless for hours.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol within 4 hours of sleeping. You know caffeine stimulates your mind, but did you know alcohol has a similar effect? While it initially causes feelings of relaxation, most people awaken several hours later, once their bodies have fully metabolized their pre-bed drinks, and struggle to go back to sleep. Enjoy these beverages before bed instead.
- Stay away from sleeping pills, which lead to long-term dependencies and make it harder for your body to enter the deeper, more beneficial stages of sleep. Melatonin and magnesium supplements, however, naturally promote relaxation and quality sleep.
What About Naps?
If you feel energized after a quick nap, sneak a 20 to 30 minute power nap in before your workout or mid-climbing-day outside. This will prevent you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, which will cause grogginess and impede physical performance. However, if you only have 5 to 10 minutes to sleep, skip it. You won’t gain noticeable performance benefits. If napping for 20 minutes makes you feel groggy, save it for after your workout if you know you can’t get 7+ hours of continuous sleep in that night.
Information by Casper global sleep brand; how it relates to climbing by EVO. #EvolveYour:Self