Always make time to rest…

27th November * 3 min read

It’s been a while since I posted a blog or article. This is mainly down to how busy we’ve been educating new, keen and aspiring fitness professionals throughout the UK.

Being busy is obviously a good thing and I consider it a testament to how well we do our job. But, over the weekend I realised just how hard all this work had been and how tired I actually am. So, with this in mind I decided to write a short article on the importance of sleep and rest…. not just physical rest but also mental rest.

Lack of sleep and rest won’t just affect your performance in work but it can also have a negative impact on your training goals and body composition goals (checkout this post from May for more information: The Importance of Sleep for Fat Loss). Reducing your recovery time, rest and sleep can cause the body to become stressed, which in turn makes it more difficult to achieve the physique you want. I also touched on this earlier in the year with another article titled: Stress, Body Composition and All Things Cortisol… if you missed them make sure you read them, today!

The purpose of this article is to outline 5 ways in which you can rest easier, sleep better and support your recovery:

  • Unless you are a fireman / doctor or any other emergency service personnel on call, switch your phone OFF 45-60 minutes before bed. This also goes for laptops, tablets and any other digitally interactive gadget. Technology like this is great for day to day interaction with friends and for business, but at night the bright lights and screens stimulate your brain which makes it harder for it to switch off and rest. Using gadgets like these before bed have been proven to interrupt sleep significantly.
  • Remove all stimulants after 6.00pm. This may sound like an obvious choice, but how many of us drink coffee after our dinner or drink an energy drink on the way home from work at 6.30/7.00pm? These stimulants naturally make it more difficult for us to sleep and therefore make it more difficult to recover.
  • Structure your nutrition better. A lot of trainers and ‘nutritionists’ out there believe you shouldn’t eat carbohydrates after 6.00pm. In my opinion, this generic rule is a load of tosh. Eating carbohydrates at night has a lot of benefits (providing you don’t over indulge throughout the day as well). Complex carbohydrates such as oats etc. before bed can help support the production of serotonin which in turn helps you sleep….’Carb Coma’. Check out this really short article from the University of Bristol on serotonin and Depression.
  • Control your environment. A number of studies have found that by ensuring your bedroom is dark (no lights or small LED charging lights etc.) along with an average temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit will help you sleep far better and spend longer bouts of time in a deep sleep rather than a light sleep… which obviously supports your recovery far better.
  • If you develop a routine and go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning your body and mind become used to sleeping through those hours and you will find it easier to fall asleep. Obviously, there will be the odd exception but as a whole, if your routine is in place and you abide by it 90% of the time, you will find it easier to sleep and rest.

Over the last few months my routine has been all over the place and I can honestly say that my work has suffered but also so has my training, diet and body composition. With the new year fast approaching it is time for me to get back in to my usual habit and routine to ensure I am rested and in a position to attack the new year with all my energy and focus, rather than half-heartedly due to being over tired.

I hope you found this article useful. For more information on training, nutrition and health please visit our blog. Alternatively, if you are considering career in fitness or would like more information on our Personal Training courses or Sports Massage courses then please don’t hesitate to contact us directly at [email protected]

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