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The Best Products for your Mind and Sleep
Sleep is a fundamental part of everyone’s day to day life, with it being a crucial physiological process that is necessary for the proper functioning of the body and mind. Without sleep, humans are simply unable to exist, so managing your sleep is important. Whether you know it or not, you probably spent between 25-33% of your life snoozing. So why don’t we take more notice of our sleep patterns?
For years, scientists have told us that we need ‘at least 8 hours of sleep’ to function properly, to allow the body to repair and rejuvenate tissues, consolidate memories, and regulate various physiological processes, such as hormone production, immune function, and metabolism. From a sporting perspective, sleep has a great impact upon our ability to perform. If we have too little sleep, tiredness is likely to result in a lack of concentration, fatigue, decreased endurance, slower reaction times, and increase the risk of injury. Infact, a lack of sleep has also been linked to decreased muscle strength, slower muscle recovery, and impaired coordination, all of which can negatively impact athletic performance.
I can guarantee that not many of you reading this have thought about the importance of sleep on your athletic performance and recovery. The day-to-day stresses that go with your life mean that you sometimes don’t have enough time in the day to manage your sleep patterns, or, you simply just go through the motions and sleep whenever your body is tired. However, maybe it’s time you started paying more attention to your sleeping habits.
How Does Sleep Influence Sports Performance?:
Having touched on this slightly already, I will try to go into some more detail about how our sleep influences us both physiologically and psychologically.
Physiologically during sleep, the body undergoes repair and restoration processes that are essential for muscle recovery and growth. Getting adequate sleep can help athletes recover from their workouts, reducing soreness and improving their overall physical performance. Additionally, sleep can have a great impact on our body’s immune systems. The body's immune system is actually more active during sleep, which enhances the ability to help fight off infections and reduce inflammation which are caused by intense physical activity. This by itself shows the importance of sleep as a recovery tool, and why ‘listening to your body’ is so important when you’re feeling fatigued.
From another physiological point of view, sleep is essential for regulating hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, and cortisol. These hormones are crucial for muscle growth, repair, and recovery. By getting enough sleep, athletes optimize their hormone levels, which can enhance their physical performance.
From a psychological perspective, sleep also plays a critical role in cognitive function, including concentration, memory, and decision-making. Adequate sleep allows athletes to perform at their best both physically and mentally. It also helps regulate thought processes, mood and emotions, which can be beneficial for athletes who experience high levels of stress and pressure.
Ways to Enhance Sleep / Mind:
Therabody - SmartGoggles
Therabody have recently released the ‘Smart Goggles’, which can be applied over head to massage around the temple, forehead and eyes. Essentially, the device has a multi use purpose, which varies between daytime and night time. During the day, the Smart Goggles have been shown to boost concentration, reduce facial tension / headaches and reduce stress. However at night, they are designed to help you fall asleep and relax.
Using heat, vibration and massage patterns, the Smart Goggles allow you to sync with mind to your body. Especially, the SmartRelax mode has been proven to physically lower your heart rate and help reduce stress and anxiety. Overall, therefore, the Smart Goggles really are a must have if you struggle to get yourself to sleep, or, if you’re looking for a product to help you switch off.
Ice Bath or Cold Water Immersion
Ice baths, or cold water immersion therapy, have been found to have several potential benefits for sleep and the mind. Researchers have shown that using an ice bath for even as little as 2-minutes can positively influence your mental health, as well as your ability to fall into deep sleep.
Here are a few ways in which ice baths may be helpful:
- Reducing inflammation: Ice baths have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, which can be beneficial for overall health and may help improve sleep quality.
- Stimulating the release of endorphins: When the body is exposed to cold water, it releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood boosters. These endorphins can help promote relaxation and may improve sleep quality.
- Increasing blood flow: Cold water immersion can increase blood flow throughout the body, which may help improve cognitive function and reduce feelings of fatigue.
- Reducing stress and anxiety: Exposure to cold water has been found to reduce levels of cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. This can help promote relaxation and may improve sleep quality.
It's important to note that while ice baths may be beneficial for some people, they are not appropriate for everyone, and should be used with caution. If you are considering trying ice baths, it's a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider first to make sure it's safe for you.
Here at Recoverfit, we sell our own sturdy ice bath in two sizes: medium and large. With prices starting at just £249, this is a great value ice bath on the market.
Sleep is a vital part of your recovery and is often dismissed by many elite and sub-elite athletes. However, managing your sleep and mental health well, can have an extremely positive influence on not only your sporting performance, but also your day-to-day life. If you have any questions about how to manage your sleep, or about any of our products, please contact us on live chat, email or by phone.