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Sleep Part 2

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Sleep Part 2

   recovery
   

We already touched on how important sleep is, and what a drastic effect it has on keeping your cognitive function optimal.  Remember our buckets?  Movement, nutrition, recovery and mindset.  These buckets do not act in isolation.  In other words, a lack of optimal attention in one bucket can affect the functioning of another bucket.  Let's look at how Mindset can affect Recovery.

I like to do at least 1-3 visualization sessions with athletes at the end of a training cycle because it is a great way to initiate the recovery process after some heavy lifts, and it also allows time to shed light on one's current state. We will lie on a bench or floor and go through some guided relaxation techniques and follow up with some visual cues to help plant a seed for success.

One thing that is readily apparent are the athletes who can shut down/sleep well and those that can't. When I first ask the athletes to check in with how their bodies feel, and go through some "contract and relax" techniques to become aware of tissues, I see who is able to focus and who has a harder time narrowing their attention. The idea of the practice is to feel what full contraction is like and then completely relax, rather than staying in a state of constant tension. This interrupts the cycle of signaling from the brain and hopefully allows for the athlete to fall into a state of low muscle neural tone. With the athletes that have a harder time slowing down, usually their hands are moving around and their facial features are twitching. This occurs even if the cue they just heard is to check in with how their legs are feeling. 

Typically they never reach a state of relaxation, and when asked if they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep the answer is usually "yes". I have only been wrong once so far out of about 40 athletes, so I wont say its 100% accurate, but its highly correlated. This type of athlete typically goes to bed around 11-1am and wakes up at 6-7am. This would seem like enough sleep if we are shooting for 6-8hr, but what is really important is that he is in bed, but not asleep because his mind is running. Or he falls asleep, but wakes up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. His mind is running systems all day/night, which even though it isn't physical stress, it definitely is mental strain. The consequence is a lower quality of sleep.  Lower quality of sleep=lower quality of recovery.

This is where your mindset bucket is having a detrimental effect on your recovery bucket. What sometimes stinks is that same mindset might make you a beast in your training, but also crushes your ability to recover from it. Everything is always a balancing act.

Here is what I usually suggest for our athletes to try at least once.

headspace

They offer a free trial that you can use as often as you like.

Till next week!

Coach Tom

 train
 
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Guest Tuesday, 12 December 2017