Sleep is by far the most important recovery tool you have in your arsenal. Travel fatigue can compound the normal precomp stress/excitement you might normally get before entering competition as such it is important to make sure you are doing everything you can to ensure you have every chance possible to get a good night’s rest.
Likewise if you train in the morning or work long hours then the amount of sleep you get will directly impact on your performance in the gym as well as in your life. It is well within your interest to get a good night’s sleep to maximize any recovery you get.
Here is a list of steps you can take to try and maximize your number one recovery tool.
Creating a sleep friendly routine
- Keep a regular sleep schedule you should set a regular bedtime and waking time which you stick to religiously to ensure you are getting the optimal recovery from your sleep. Stick to this same sleep pattern on away travel to help to negate any negatives effect of the travel.
- No television, Tablet or Smartphone before bedtime the blue light they emit (especially tablet and smartphone) can reduce melatonin reduction by up to 22% and can delay your normal sleep patterns.
- Take a hot shower or warm bath before bedtime.
- Reverse your bed cover for sleeping (if it has a reversible duvet) this helps to create a mental routine that will help to prepare your body to sleep.
- No big meals before bed.
- Cut down or try to eliminate caffeine 2-3 hours before bedtime.
- Drink to thirst for the last 2 hours of the day going to bed hyper-hydrated will lead to sleep disturbance.
- No alcohol before bed as it will disturb your sleep rhythms.
- Keep the noise down in your room any radio, audiobooks or ambient noise should be kept to a low level.
- Shut the curtains or blinds in your room, ensure all lights are turned off when you are intending to go to sleep. Keep your room between 17-19 degrees celsius.
- Make sure your bed is as comfortable as possible.
- To help deal with any anxiety you may be feeling try – tensing all of your muscles hard and then relaxing, closing your eyes and take cyclical slow deep breaths.
Reducing the effects of travel on your sleep.
- Nap during the trip. Try to nap for no longer than 20 minutes at one single time also try to nap after a caffeine drink.
- Take Cherry active or ZMA pre-bedtime to try and improve the quality of your sleep and reduce any disturbances the new environment or previous travel has had on your routine.
Some Handy info graphics taken from YLMSportsscience blog