The Most Underrated Recovery Tool

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What Is The Most Underrated Recovery Tool?

Do you consider yourself a high performer?  Whether it’s on or off the golf course, we all need to perform our best every single day!  But are you taking advantage of the most underrated recovery tool?

If you’re not taking care of yourself and your body, you may be missing out on critical ways to make sure you’re at your best every day.

There are lots of factors that contribute to recovery and being at your best every single day.  That can include: stress management, being hydrated, and proper diet and nutrition.

But I want to talk about what I consider to be the most underrated tool for recovery…

Sleep!

Why Sleep?

Person who fell asleep in bed

Sleep is a vital function that is needed to allow your body and mind to recharge. I think so many of us push off sleep if we have other things to do.  Whether you stay up later than usual or get up earlier than usual so you can get ahead on a project or task is not necessarily a bad thing here or there.  But we get so used to reducing the amount of sleep we get because we know we can still function and get by on 1-2 hours of less sleep and there doesn’t seem to be any true consequence.

But, I want to let you know that’s not the case!  Make sure you keep reading to learn why sleep is so important and what you can do to start getting better sleep at night.

So, Why Is Sleep The Most Underrated Recovery Tool?

Plastic model of a human brain

Sleep Is Restorative

First, your body will produce and release human growth hormone while you’re asleep.  Human growth hormone is vital in that it helps your body to repair and grow.  So, if you had an exhausting round or you really pushed yourself in the gym, your body needs to physically repair any microtears or damage that has occurred in your body.

Second, your body will release chemicals called cytokines.  Cytokines help fight off inflammation, infection, and help with healing from any kind of trauma.  These little chemicals are keys to make sure that you stay or get healthy.

These are just two of many restorative processes that occur at night, but when you miss out on sleep you’re cutting your body short of it’s ability to perform at it’s best.

Improve Your Memory

Remember all those nights that you stayed up late studying for a test, thinking that you’ll be able to learn more and retain more?  Yeah, me too…

But I’m here to tell you that we were doing it all wrong!

Sleep has been found to be a key for memory consolidation.  But how does this happen?  Well, getting a proper amount of sleep at night will help you to put information that you gathered throughout the day in the right spot.  It will also help to get rid of or forget about excessive, unnecessary information that you learned throughout the day as well.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

There are a fair amount of negative effects when you don’t get enough sleep.  Let’s go through them…

I would say the most obvious one is that you may have a lowered attention span and difficulty with focusing.  We’ve all probably experienced these symptoms one at some point or another in our lives when we didn’t get enough sleep.

But there are even more chronic issues that can develop from not getting enough sleep.  This can include an increase risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, poor mental health, and even early death.

Make sure that you get enough sleep to reduce your risk for being diagnosed with any of those aforementioned diseases/conditions!

But, now let’s get to how you can get more and better quality sleep!

Pink alarm clock on table

5 Tips To Get More & Better Quality Sleep

1.) Have A Consistent Wake Up & Sleep Time Every Day

Just like having routines in golf for your drive or sinking a putt, having a routine for your sleep is just as important.  We do have an internal clock in our bodies and we go off of this clock every single day.  If you lack a typical morning and bedtime routine, your clock is always going to thrown off.

Our internal clock goes off what is called a circadian rhythm.  Our circadian rhythm is naturally affected by the sunlight.  When the sun comes up and when we get exposed to that light, there is more cortisol that is released in our bodies.  Cortisol will help to make you more alert and “get going” for the day.  When the sun goes down, we have a decrease in cortisol and an increase in melatonin.  Melatonin helps to make us feel more sleepy, hence it’s helpfulness at nighttime when we’re supposed to go to sleep.

So, one thing that may be ruining your sleep and circadian rhythm is sleeping in on the weekends.  Our bodies get used to waking up at a specific time during the week, but when you get to sleep in a few more hours on the weekend, your body will then release cortisol later than usual.  This will throw off your body’s internal clock.  You will most likely stay up later than usual because you got up later than usual.  But when Monday rolls around, you’re going to struggle to get up because your internal clock is thrown off.

So, having a consistent wake up and sleep time every day, even on the weekends is important for your body.

2.) Minimize Screen Time Before You Go To Bed

Most, if not all of our electronic devices emit what is known as blue light.  Blue light is thought to suppress melatonin because what is happening on the screen is exciting to your brain.  Therefore it’s not helping you to go to sleep at night because melatonin is not getting released as it normally does.

So, the best thing to do is to stop using any devices at least 60-90 minutes before you go to bed.  I know this can be hard because we all utilize our devices for most of our entertainment and educational consumption.  I definitely struggle with this as well so don’t feel that you’re alone in this.  What I would recommend is adjusting a setting on your device that allows the blue light to be decreased at least 60-90 minutes before you go to bed.  Another tip is that you can purchase glasses that block blue light; this will still allow you to use your device without getting exposed to blue light.

3.) Create A Comfortable & Quiet Environment

One of the first things to do is make sure your room is cool.  Research has pointed that about 67-68 degrees Fahrenheit is best for quality sleep.  I know that may seem too cool for you, but I would recommend getting some more blankets at that point.

Next, make sure your room is as dark as it possibly can be.  Make sure you don’t have any light in your room from any electronic devices and minimize as much light from outside as possible.  If there is any light coming from outside, purchase some room darkening shades to make sure you minimize as much light as possible from outside.

Lastly, you want to have a relatively quiet room.  I like to have a fan on as that consistent humming of the fan will drown out other noises.  If you live in a noisy community or city, I would recommend getting some ear plugs to help drown out other noises as well.

4.) No Caffeine Within 4 Hours Of Sleeping

Full Cup Of Coffee On Table

Caffeine is a stimulant for our bodies.  If you have caffeine late enough, it can make it difficult for you to go to sleep at night.  I know that most of us are aware that a major source of caffeine is in coffee.  However, it can be found in other drinks and items you may ingest including soda, teas, and supplements.  So make sure that you look at the ingredient label of whatever you’re ingesting to see if it has caffeine.

5.) Do Not Use Alcohol As A Sleep Aid

Alcohol has just the opposite effect that caffeine has on our bodies.  Alcohol acts as  depressant for our system, which is why you may experience tiredness when drinking alcohol.  However, utilizing alcohol to help you go to sleep is ill advised. Why?

Alcohol is considered a poison by our body.  It’s going to work really hard to get rid of that toxin as quick and as best as it can.  So, when you go to sleep and your body should be working to repair and restore itself (remember from above?) it’s working hard to get rid of alcohol. Therefore, you’re missing out on the true benefits that occur during sleep.

Now, I’m not saying not have alcohol ever.  I know this can be hard because most of us probably have alcohol at night.  I would suggest just like with caffeine, that you try to not have any alcohol within 4 hours of sleeping.

Convinced That Sleep Is The Most Underrated Recovery Tool?

I hope this article was helpful to you in learning more about why sleep is so crucial for optimal performance on and off the golf course!

If you’re looking to get started on your own golf performance plan, you can schedule a no-obligation call or in-person appointment with me for no charge at all to get started.  I want to help you move better, get stronger, and swing faster, so you can be your best on and off the golf course!

In the meantime, here’s a link for 9 workouts that I made specific for golf performance.

If this was helpful I would love to know, feel free to send me an email.  If you have more questions or any other comments, I’d also love to know.  You can send me an email directly at joe@puredrivephysio.com and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours!

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