As someone who considers herself a recreational athlete, and the more I want to improve my fitness further, I’ve noticed that sleep and recovery go hand-in-hand. Sometimes we push ourselves into going hard and overtraining, which results in injuries and fatigue. Sometimes it’s due to constantly trying to compete with a professional athlete or influencer with a higher weekly mileage than you. Stop comparing yourself and go at your own pace.
Whenever I don’t get a good sleep or notice that I’m sore, I know that it’s because I haven’t been able to get a good restorative sleep.
Here are some of my tips that have helped me get better sleep. (Everybody is different. What works for me may not work for you.)
Magnesium can be found in foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and several fruits and vegetables. When you take this as a supplement, it’s great for post-workout as it helps with muscle recovery, induces sleepiness, and getting more REM sleep (which is crucial for long-term memory)
Some people mention that taking a supplement can allow your body to become dependent, but if you take it in moderation and know how your body works there’s nothing wrong. There are nights when I don’t take this supplement, but whenever I have a heavy-weight strength session and want my muscles to relax, I lean toward it.
It is also a good supplement for women as it can help during our period phase. It can help prevent dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps), reduce stress, improve insulin resistance, and relieve symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.
If you are someone who sits all day working, your muscles will get tight, especially your hips. Doing lower body mobility stretches to your lower body, hips, and even shoulders can eliminate tightness in your joints.
My chiropractor would recommend stretching before going to bed. I always go to him as it helps with my posture, improves my fitness performance, and better stress management as I would work long hours.
Meditation & Breathing
When you have a busy mind, something that helps to get yourself grounded is taking at least 5 minutes to do a small meditation and focus on your breathing. At nighttime, it helps to destress your mind and body. When you lower your heart rate, you are tricking your body into relaxing entirely to make you feel calmer and, hopefully, fall asleep quicker. I also noticed increased heart rate variability (HRV), which is crucial in fitness.
Bluelight blocking glasses
This recovery tactic among individuals who use Whoop (like me) has mentioned an increase in their recovery score. During the day, we’re exposed to blue light, and for any of you who have day jobs and work at a computer screen all day, blue-light-blocking glasses can help with eye strain. When you go to your bedroom, binge-watch a TV series, or read on your cell phone, this tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime when it’s nighttime, making it harder for your brain to develop melatonin.
I’m one that I can binge-watch a TV show (especially once I find something good), but I’ve decided to change that habit. When I visited my ophthalmologist and talked about this, I decided to add the blue-light block to my glasses, and it’s been another difference for me.
Making my room 65 degrees
Putting my room at this temperature makes the room and bed cold and allows my brain to grab a blanket for comfort quickly and ultimately helps me fall asleep.
Eating an oatmeal snack
I avoid eating heavy meals after 9 PM as it disrupts my sleeping patterns, and I won’t get quality sleep. Instead, I opt for an oatmeal full of protein as my snack. I’m hypoglycemic, so I need to have my three snacks in between my main meals to keep my blood sugar levels from getting low. After consuming this, I notice it makes me sleepy.
Reading or journaling
If you like to journal, I invite you to keep the habit. At nighttime, you can reflect on naming three things that you learned during the day and three things you can improve. It invites you to continue making this habit and feel less tension on your shoulders.
Having a physical copy of a book in your hands boosts your mind and reduces stress, and there’s no better feeling than touching a book and changing pages. It’s just satisfying.
Putting your cell phone in another room
I use this method: I would set my alarm for the next day and go to bed. The next day, my alarm would turn on, which would motivate me to get out of bed and prevent myself from hitting snooze. If you are not a morning person, this could be a good trick you can use to help develop a new habit of waking up early.
Listening to my hubby’s heartbeat
I wanted to put this one to add something new and unique. I like to listen to his heartbeat when I’m cuddling with my hubby whenever we watch a TV show or movie. It makes me calm and induces my heartbeat to go down, accidentally making me fall asleep.
These are some tips that work for me. They might not necessarily work for you. I invite you to experiment and stick to what works best for you.
*Chat GPT did not write this.