As I write this blog I am literally practising what I preach, sitting on a deck chair soaking in some sun, enjoying a nice cold corona with a slice of lime. The music is playing in the back ground, the sea breeze softens the afternoon sun as the kids active play is nullified by the shore breakers. Oh, to be on holidays.
However, the theme that continually crosses my mind is how can we bottle this feeling when your mind is completely free from work or from any stress that might be filling your grey matter, you are relaxed and free from reality.
I am a firm advocate that you have to do what you enjoy, but I am also a realist and understand that even the best occupation in the world would still have its flaws. So for me the saying, ‘If you find the job you love, you never work a day in your life’, is not 100% accurate. So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t jump out of bed as soon as the alarm goes off ever morning
Nevertheless, this blog isn’t about self-assessing your current state of employment or finding out what your passion is, it is about the importance of rest, recovery and relaxation. In today’s society we have very little mental downtime with work place pressure along with the expansion of connectivity (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap chat, Tinder and the likes), and the effect this is having is causing numerous issues both personally and professionally for a large percentage of the population. Therefore, it is imperative that we start to prioritise more down time and allocate more “YOU” time to allow yourself some time to think, reflect, rest and recover!
Regardless of whether or not you are an athlete, an industrial athlete, a mother, a father, a sister, a brother etc. your body and mind needs time to recover to enable yourself to adapt to both the physiological and psychological stressors you continue to place upon it and the most under estimated recovery tool is sleep, getting adequate sleep.
The importance of sleep not only makes you feel better, but it also goes a long way in boasting your mood as well as being a key indicator of a healthy lifestyle. It also plays a critical role in relation to your physiological benefits particularly the functioning of your heart, controlling your weight and your mental clarity.
In a recent worldwide study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation there was quite a range discrepancy when referring to the ideal number of hours needed per night depending on your age. The general consensus previously was a minimum of 6 hours was required but the results from this study found that the range for newborns was 14 hours minimum to older adults, 7 hours minimum which shows that from an early age we probably aren’t respecting the ‘value’ of sleep!
- So how many hours are you constantly having per night…?
- What aspects of your life do you think are being affected because of your lack of sleep…?
- What are your rest, recovery, and relaxation routines…?
- How much “YOU” time do you have each day…?
So if you are looking to improve the way you look, feel and function try a few of these tips to improve your number 1 recovery tool, sleep;
- Go to bed at the same time every day
- Read or listen to music
- Try meditation
- Avoid caffeine, sleeping pills, alcohol or nicotine before going to bed
Make sure that your room is;
- Free of clutter
- Peaceful room colours
- No laptops, I-phones, blackberries
- Hide illuminated clocks
- Temperature of 16 – 18 degrees
- Room to be super dark
- Room is QUIET
Remember, there really is no substitute for the benefits of rest, recovery and relaxation, particular sleep. You can’t flirt with it, bank it, catch up on it. The key to optimal performance on or off the sporting field is a maintaining a regular sleep routine. Therefore, if you want to be successful, happy and healthy in life, quality sleep is an essential ingredient, not a luxury.