Even though we spend approximately a third of our lives in bed, we can still find it difficult to nod off. As an athlete, the benefits of a good night’s sleep go much further than just feeling refreshed. Here are just three reasons to get yourself to bed earlier.
It improves your recovery rate
After a particular intensive workout, your body needs time to recover, so that you can feel the benefits. It does this during the deepest stages of sleep. The body will release HGH – the human growth hormone – to repair damaged tissue and develop stronger muscles. It also controls our metabolism by converting fat into fuel and keeping our weight under control.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping and find yourself waking up easily, your body isn’t getting the chance to produce as much HGH as it should. All that hard work spent training could be for nothing if you’re not allowing yourself enough time to recover.
A good way to monitor your sleeping patterns is to use a mobile app like Sleep Cycle. It will track your movement during the night and report back on how well you slept. The level of sleep you require per night varies from person to person: what’s more important is that you sleep deep enough to benefit from the restorative processes.
It improves your water reabsorption
Whilst we slumber, our kidneys work hard to balance sodium, water and other electrolyte levels. If there isn’t enough water in the body, our kidneys can’t perform this job properly. You should try to drink water before bed and avoid dehydrating beverages that contain caffeine like tea, coffee and energy drinks.
Starting the day well-hydrated is especially important when you’re running in hotter weather: you’ll sweat more and become dehydrated quicker in these conditions.
However, getting a decent amount of sleep each night is easier said than done – especially if you’re nervous about a big race. Try to develop a consistent bedtime routine and make your room as inviting as possible. Buy a better mattress, get comfier pillows or try sleeping tablets if that’s what it takes. Medicines2u has a varied selection of sleeping remedies that can help.
It will keep you calm
Another negative side effect of sleep deprivation is the increased levels of cortisol in your bloodstream. Often referred to as ‘the stress hormone”, cortisol can also slow your recovery times and leave you feeling demotivated and irritable while you exercise. Sleeping properly before a race will give you the concentration and positivity to break through any mental walls in your way.