Arguably there are 4 main things that influence health, aesthetics and performance:
Sleep, nutrition, exercise, and stress management…….
These are the pillars that hold everything else up….. the basics. Often times we get caught up with all this fancy stuff we can do to optimise minute details i.e. focusing on the 10% when you haven’t got the underpinning 90% nailed.
Most of us live very stressful and busy lifestyles. On top of this training is one of the biggest stresses to the body, a stimulus that initiates a desired adaptation. But adaptation actually occurs during rest/recovery. the most optimal state of recovery is SLEEP!
During the day we need to be alert to the situations or context we find ourselves in, so your body regulates it’s hormones to focus on the task at hand. During sleep we don’t need to respond to our environment so your bodies focus is to build and repair tissue, optimise immune function, digestion, reduce inflammation and even memory/skill consolidation! Most of this is achieved via secretion of anabolic hormones like testosterone and growth hormone.
If we constantly deprive ourselves of sleep we often turn to drugs and resort to caffeine for a pick me up which gets rid of the symptoms rather than eliminating the cause. Without getting into the nerdy stuff, sleep drugs essentially make you unconscious, not sleep, so your still missing out on all the good stuff.
Doctors may prescribe drugs but your doctor is your lifeguard, we are your swim coaches. You don’t go to your lifeguard for swimming lessons and it’s no good learning to swim when your drowning. In medical school doctors don’t get taught about these 4 things and often aren’t on top of them themselves! They learn the biochemistry and what drug to prescribe, this is symptoms and disease management not health optimisation.
Sleeping habits are extremely important no matter what your goal is and are simple (but not always easy) to correct!
In modern day life we often sacrifice sleep to accommodate our busy work schedule, social life and family commitments.
If you literally can’t get 8 hours in the best thing you can do is enhance the quality of your sleep. The simplest way of doing this is through sleep hygiene…… here’s some simple tips!
Set alarm to wind down and go to sleep just like you do for getting up in the morning (30-60 mins prior to bed) (No exceptions, stop what you’re doing, turn everything electrical off and start to wind down, keep things quite and don’t start doing anything that requires lots of attention).
Avoid stimulants close to bed.
Keep your bedroom cool.
black out your room or wear a sleeping mask.
Only get in bed to sleep, not for anything else (….with exception of that yes!).
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time daily.
Each sleep cycle lasts around 90-120 minutes so if you have a nap mid day, try to keep it within this time frame.
Keep these habits up consistently and you’ll find your energy levels and performance should shoot up.
Other interventions consist of things like supplementation and sleep positioning but we’ll save those for another day!
Hope that’s helpful.
Have a good day!