Do you often feel a subtle attitude of blah going into your next work out? Or perhaps you're unsure why you have stubborn soreness and don't quite feel recovered going into your next training session? A lack of quality sleep might be the answer.
This month we are featuring an article from Rick Tiedemann, Chief Abundance Officer at Calm Water Lifestyles. Rick partners with companies and "Corporate Athletes" to enable them to become more abundant versions of themselves, after he experienced Burn Out 12 years ago. He combines his professional passions of Healthcare and Business to offer talks and courses to business leaders. These courses are designed to prime shifts in mindset from wealth to health. "Quality sleep is said to be the number one health prevention activity that we can engage in."
I often hear aspiring athletes say they have so much on the go that they don’t have time to get a full night’s sleep. This thought process really needs to change as the best of the best in the athletic world recognize that it is while they sleep that their body heals and strengthens. Data clearly documents that those who experience sub-optimal sleep for an extended period of time are at a greater risk for delayed recovery from injury, major heart events, cancer and all causes of mortality.
Once we appreciate the fact that sleep is the “Ultimate High Performance Drug” and the number one health prevention behaviour that we can embrace, we can start to consciously modify our behaviours so that we routinely enjoy repartive, restorative and performance enhancing sleep.
When we sleep, our immune system recharges: our brain is cleansed of metabolic materials that can negatively impact on our cognition, our bones, muscles and blood vessels repair themselves, our experiences from the previous day are consolidated and our mood is rebalanced. All of these health benefits are essential if we are to perform well as athletes and live a life of habitual fitness AND wellness.
While there are a few medical reasons why people suffer from fragmented sleep, many of the causes are actually behavioural and therefore we can get our sleep back if we want to. Some of the top sleep disruptors are alcohol, caffeine and technology along with many others. If you currently sleep like a champ (7.5+ hours of undisrupted sleep each night) you are golden; however, if this is not your reality, you should consider making some changes. The magnitude of the change will be based on how fragmented your sleep is.
Here are a few choices that I have made to help me to enjoy the best possible sleep.
1/ No alcohol Sunday night through Thursday night as alcohol is a sedative and disrupts our deep sleep, causing us to experience restless sleep. Let’s be clear, that I am not saying “No” to alcohol, but rather I am saying “YES” to a healthier, higher performing version of myself.
2/ While I don’t drink coffee, many of you may want to cut or at least reduce your consumption of caffeine based products as caffeine can cause suppression of the sleep hormone melatonin. Put a time-cap on when you consume your last source of concentrated caffeine (coffee or tea), and for you late-night chocolate snackers, perhaps only have a peak or two of our Superfood bars before bedtime (instead of the whole 80g bar!).
3/ In terms of technology use (phones, computers, TV’s etc) I turn these devices off around 8:00 pm. The blue light from devices suppresses our melatonin and the content you’re interacting with can be stimulating, annoying or down right aggravating. Getting ourselves jacked up after 8:00 pm does not lend itself well to a good, 7+ hour sleep. We want our bodies to go into a calming mode 1-1.5 hrs before we want to be asleep so that we can both fall asleep and stay asleep.
As aspiring athletes, we all want to be successful on many dimensions. As I have shared with audiences in past articles, creating abundance for ourselves, which includes optimizing our health is hopefully one of your key benchmarks for success. Without good health, the rest doesn’t really matter, and in order to enjoy optimal health, you need to prioritize your sleep. Napoleon once said, “Let him sleep…for when he wakes, he will move mountains.”
Let’s all remember that a good night will lead to a great day.
I wish you a Life of Abundance.
Rick Tiedemann; Chief Abundance Officer
Calm Water Lifestyles