Post-Workout Recovery Tips: Role of Good Quality Sleep
by Emily Jannet on Jan 13, 2023
To become healthier, fitter and stronger, we push our bodies harder and harder. However, people often forget that physical exercise stresses the body. Proper recovery after a good physical effort is essential for further muscle growth, tissue repair, effective performance, and fitness gains.
There are well-known strategies to help the body heal muscles, restore damaged cells and tissue, as well as reduce inflammation and replenish energy stores.
These are based on three pillars: nutrition, hydration, and good sleep. Let us have a look at each of them.
1. Good nutrition for good recovery
A balanced diet is an effective way to replenish lost nutrients and repair muscles. Remember that you should not skip your post-workout meal as during a workout you lose as much as 80% of glycogen storage. This may result in decreased energy levels and impaired ability of your muscles to repair. The key points are as follows: avoid/minimise processed foods, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and ensure an adequate protein consumption.
2. Fluid: stay hydrated
Dehydration also affects your muscles’ ability to repair. Good hydration regulates the body temperature, prevents infections, moves nutrients to the cells, and improves sleep quality. You should strive for at least 16-24 ounces of fluid; however, the figures may vary in accordance with your body composition and needs. Remember that if you exercise in hot or humid weather you should drink even more fluid.
3. Sleep well to recover faster
Unfortunately, lots of people forget about the importance of quality sleep. The life pace today has made it almost impossible to get enough sleep. However, this is a crucial factor for recovery. During sleep, a lot of vital processes take place: growth hormone release, muscle and tissue regeneration, metabolism regulation, replenishment of energy sources, waste removal, and new information memorisation. Obviously, this is not a complete list of restorative benefits the body can get during a normal sleep period.
What happens when you lack quality sleep?
There are certain conditions that may prevent people from getting quality sleep. These are known as sleep disorders.
Insomnia is one of the most common problems. It leads to a decreased performance, poor memory and concentration, mood changes, irritation, anxiety and depression. Poor sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, it negatively affects the daytime production of hormones. Thus, cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise and the ability of body cells to process nutrients decreases.
The good news is that there are many strategies you can use to improve your sleep quality. Try to follow them to bring changes in your bedtime routine or talk to your doctor if these do not work.
Tips to promote better sleep
- Ensure your sleep schedule is consistent
Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Remember that most people do not need more than 8 hours of sleep per day.
- Turn on slow music or meditate before going to bed
Meditation and relaxing tunes decrease anxiety and help you relax. You may also consider using apps for meditation.
- Eat healthy food
You should be neither stuffed nor hungry. Avoid nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine.
- Reduce the use of gadgets and blue light exposure
An hour before you go to bed put away your smartphone, laptop or other electronic devices.
- Create an environment for undisturbed sleep
It should be cool, dark, and quiet in your bedroom. Consider using black-out shades or a fan. If you are a light sleeper or when you have to sleep in a noisy environment, you may want to use earplugs. This is also a good solution if you have a snoring partner. It is generally safe and easy to use earplugs.
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Hopefully, you have found the blog post useful and started introducing changes in your post-workout routine to get even better results! Try to make quality sleep a priority to help your body recover faster.