Rest is one of the essential pillars for performance and avoiding injuries, since during those hours of sleep we are repairing our muscles. There is no point in training very well three days a week and even optimizing nutrition if this third leg fails us, which is also key to a healthy lifestyle. Maybe you haven’t stopped to think about it, but when you have a bad night, you wake up in a bad mood and are exhausted at the corners. Imagine if this is repeated day after day: it undoubtedly influences your body and conditions your life. According to the book by Marcos Vázquez, better known as Revolutionary Fitness, in “Healthily. Habits to optimize your brain and improve your health at any age”, sleep is essential for learning, memory, the maintenance of neural circuits and the metabolization of some values depleted while we were awake.
These are some of the consequences of not sleeping well reported by the Sleep Institute: memory problems, muscle pain, weakened immune system, premature aging, it promotes diabetes, weight gain and the chances of suffering from a psychiatric illness increase by a 40% when sleep problems become chronic. “Sleep is not only a pleasure, but a necessity,” maintains the World Health Organization (WHO), which warns that getting too little and poorly can be your greatest enemy.
In addition to a correct choice of pillow and mattress, the most recommended position to rest well is “lateral decubitus (side) and supine position (face up),” say the Sleep Unit of the Quirón Salud University Hospital in Madrid. If there is a position that is not recommended, it is “prone position” (face down), because “it produces a lot of stress in the neck area, due to excessive rotation of the spine, affecting muscles, joints and nerves.
TRICKS TO REST MORE AND SLEEP WELL
- “The first thing we should do is try to sleep earlier. Go to bed at a reasonable time taking into account that we must sleep for a series of hours and, if we are late, delay the moment of waking up as much as possible. The nighttime routine is very important and if you don’t achieve it, monitor your habits to try,” explains Sheila Arrogante, CrossFit Courage coach.
- “Strive to sleep a minimum of 6 to 8 hours. There are people who need more sleep than others. Getting enough sleep doesn’t just refer to total hours of sleep. It is also important that sleep is of good quality, that is, restful. If you can’t be at 8, getting as close as possible to that number would be great,” advises Dago Alcaraz.
- Don’t snooze your alarm clock indefinitely. The “tip” of sleep takes its toll during the day, according to experts. Not getting up the first time and staying in bed for five or ten more minutes out of laziness means that the rest will not be restorative if we fall asleep again. In Somnologist they explain that the snooze button, designed to delay waking up a little longer, does not allow “extra rest”, but quite the opposite. Activating it is the first sign that “sleep is failing and, therefore, health is declining.” This happens because the sleep cycle is interrupted.
- Forcing the time to go to bed or wake up can alter circadian biological rhythms. You may sleep eight hours but your habits are a disaster, going to sleep at dawn and getting up at mealtime. Make sure this is not a habit.
- Avoid heavy or sugary foods, drinking alcohol and smoking a few hours before bedtime. “If you have trouble falling asleep, caffeine right when we go to bed is not a good idea either,” says Dago Alcaraz, coach of the Eat Fit program.
- Exercise regularly, but if it upsets and activates you, avoid booking your class late in the day and choose other times when it won’t affect your rest.
The body also activates and deactivates depending on the ambient light. The invention of electric light has made it increasingly difficult to sleep in complete darkness. Create a good rest space, with a good temperature and ventilated space: “Eliminate noise and light from the room, reserve it only for sleeping and do not create it as a work or play space. We don’t want perfection, but we want progress,” says Dago.
- Avoid screens at the last minute. “It can cause difficulty falling asleep, since the flash of lighting from a mobile phone or tablet alters melatonin, which is the hormone that induces the REM phase of sleep in which our brain reorganizes and rests.”
- The nap should not last more than 45 minutes, since it is fantastic for disconnecting but, if it is too long, it makes it difficult to sleep later at night and produces more imbalance.
- Use natural products such as valerian, passionflower or lime blossom to improve and maintain the quality of sleep if this helps you, they are recognized by the medical and pharmaceutical community.