Ready? Set. Sleep! How sleep contributes to your performance and recovery | Bedshed
Sleep & Health

Ready? Set. Sleep! How sleep contributes to your performance and recovery

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The number of people engaging in fun runs, triathlons and amateur sporting events is climbing each year as people place more importance on their health and fitness, and weave them into their lives in an enjoyable way. If you're one of them, have you considered how sleep plays a part in your performance and recovery? Sleep has such an important role to play in physical and mental fitness, regardless of your level of athletic ability, which is why it’s important that you keep to a regular sleep schedule. Sleep routines ensure that an athlete’s mind and body are at their best. Many researchers suggest that anyone of any age can benefit from a practical, repeatable, daily sleep-schedule.

Here you’ll find tips on having the best quality sleep, to ensure you perform at your best.

Make sure quality sleep is part of your regular schedule

Consistency plays a huge part in how your body rests and repairs itself. If you’re getting consistent, quality rest your body can repair itself every night, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle work, training, and life in general. You can’t change your sleep quality overnight – it needs to be an ongoing process, so it’s important that you prioritise sleep. Exercise and sleep need to be carefully balanced, without enough rest you’ll find you become fatigued and injured more easily.

Diet and hydration throughout the day

Throughout the day, eat well for your body type, activity level and age. Drink small amounts of water throughout the day and eat moderate amounts of fresh, healthy foods. Skipping meals or eating too much during a meal can disrupt your ability to sleep at the end of the day.

Finish exercise before dinner

If you are participating in sports or going to the gym, try to get your last workout in before eating dinner. If you don’t exercise, try adding a short walk to your daily routine and schedule your walk before your last meal of the day.

Find the right mattress

A good mattress is always important, but it’s absolutely essential when you’re engaging in regular exercise. For your muscles to properly recover, they need proper support throughout the night. If your current mattress isn’t the right fit for you then you’ll likely find it takes longer to recover from the gym and that you’re waking up feeling sore in the morning. A poor quality mattress can cause back pain, joint problems and muscle pain, which can all hamper your performance so it’s important to find a mattress that promotes proper spinal alignment. If you need help choosing a mattress, try our mattress selector or speak to us in-store.

Relax before bed

Relax before going to bed by stretching and loosening your muscles, or by enjoying a warm bath. Winding down will help you fall asleep faster. Avoid exercising right before sleep as it can keep you awake. Exercise will increase your heart rate and body temperature which can stop you from falling asleep, plus the release of endorphins can make you feel more alert. If you’re planning to exercise, then it’s best to do it at least a few hours before bed.

Eliminate things that disrupt your sleep

Turn off electronics, like phones, computers and televisions, before you go to sleep. Keep office-work, books, bills and paperwork at a desk and do not take these to bed.

Amount of sleep

Most adult athletes need a minimum of 8 hours of sleep while actively training and competing, but the amount of sleep we need varies by age and individual.

Additionally, we need to consider getting more sleep when we are experiencing stress. Non-athletes and athletes can experience stress during business travel, or when worrying about work, family or school. Some sleep-experts recommend going to bed a little earlier or staying in bed a little longer to give our bodies a better chance to rest.

As we mentioned, the more consistent you are with your schedule, the better your results will be. Ask a sleep specialist or health professional for personalised help getting into your sleep routine or if you are unable to get the sleep you need.

Sleep in the Zero-G position

The Zero-G position might sound a little space age, but it’s great for recovery after exercise! The Zero-G position involved raising your head and knee line slightly above the heart. This sleeping position has been shown to help improve circulation and digestion, as well as reduce swelling and back pain - all good things after a gym session or marathon!

So, how can you achieve the Zero-G position? You can try propping your head and knees up with pillows, but the easiest way to get into this position is with an adjustable bed. Many of the electric bed bases come with Zero-G presets already programmed in, so all you need to do is press a button and relax!

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Need help setting your bedroom up for deep sleep? Try our handy online mattress selector, or visit us in-store for advice from the bedroom experts.

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