Spending nearly 3 decades working with athletes from professional, collegiate, and highs school levels, I’m often asked what the secrets to optimal recovery are. I will start by saying that there are no magic pills, potions, gadgets, or technologies that outperform what mother-nature intended for our bodies to recover and that is SLEEP. Quite simply, the magic of recovery occurs while we sleep, and our bodies have a chance to heal. Unfortunately, too many athletes forget that sleep is by far the most valuable tool we can use to recover from training or competition. I will provide you with some tips for optimal sleeping which involve simple lifestyle changes that can greatly affect your sleep. And by the way, the more you can recover the better you can PERFORM!
1. Do not have any caffeine products (Soda’s, chocolate, tea’s) within 10-12 hours of bedtime. YES, you heard right 10-12 hours. Caffeine has a half life of 6 hours and its stimulating properties last an additional 6 hours. Have your caffeine in the morning hours ONLY.
2. Sleep in a temperature between 66-68 degrees Fahrenheit. You will naturally warm yourself with blankets and body heat.
3. Do not eat or drink TWO hours before bedtime as you will cause your digestive system and nervous system to overwork digesting your meal and interrupt your sleep. Unless you are a professional bodybuilder, just skip eating late and make sure you have some healthy protein in the morning (eggs, lean meat, whey)
4. Discontinue screen time 30 minutes before bedtime and give your brain a chance to calm down.
5. Remove all ambient light from your bedroom and do not have your cell phone near your bed. Make sure alarm clocks are not emitting LED light in your room.
Try these simple yet effective strategies to improve your sleep and aide in your physical and mental recovery and help maximize performance.
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