Sleep Better & Recover Faster From Your Workouts!

Dean PohlmanBlogs, From Dean, Lifestyle & Wellness5 Comments

Sleep Better & Recover Faster

The Man Flow Yoga Guide to Better Sleep & Faster Recovery

I designed this page because I want you to be sure that you are adequately addressing a CRITICAL part of your fitness – your sleep and recovery. If you are not sleeping well, you may as well not be working out. (I’m serious!) Your body only gets stronger when you are asleep. Your workout is calculated stress on your body – muscle fibers broken down during your workout are signals to your body that the areas affected should be further reinforced. For example, the burning feeling in your legs the day after a difficult lower-body workout is not just soreness; it’s also a signal to your body that your legs need to be stronger, and your body responds by sending nourishment to your legs, so that muscle may grow and muscle fibers are regenerated.

If you follow the guidelines below, I guarantee you that you will see better results.

Note: It could be overwhelming to incorporate all of these practices at once. Start with one, and slowly add in others over time. That is the best method for success!

Sleep:

7.5 – 9 hours of sleep per night. That’s your minimum. On top of this, you also want to follow a few guidelines to make sure your mind and body are prepared for sleep, and that you won’t wake up in the middle of the night or sleep poorly.

The Do’s:

  1. Eat good fats and high-quality proteins proteins. Fats and proteins tell your body that is satiated, and this allows you to go to sleep. (Examples: salmon, avocado, refined MCT oil) 
  2. Make it dark. If you haven’t yet, purchasing blackout curtains could be one of the smartest decisions for your health that you can make (other than starting Man Flow Yoga, of course). Blindfolds work, too.
  3. Eliminate noise. Ear plugs are one of my favorite tools for better sleep. Click here to get yourself the best ear plugs there are.
  4. Turn up the AC, and sleep naked. The temperature of your bedroom (or wherever you’re sleeping) should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can’t sleep naked, wear some breathable fabric like cotton.
  5. Make a bedtime (ideally right around after it gets dark). If you go to bed at the same time every night, it will make your sleep more regular.
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The Do not’s:

  1. No TVs, phones, or computers 2 hours before you go to sleep. The light from these machines tricks your brain into thinking that it is still day time, and negatively affects your body’s ability to produce melatonin to help you sleep. If you have no choice (you have work, your significant other insists on watching a show, etc) just slip on these glasses and you’re protected from blue-light. I’ve used these for over a year now, and I still use them on a daily basis.
  2. No exercise 3 hours before sleep. Try to get your workouts done at least 3 hours before you go to sleep, or you’ll be wired from the workout. The exception here is if you are doing a slow, restorative yoga class, or deep stretching to help you relax.
  3. No sugars immediately before sleep. Put down the ice cream, and even the apples and bananas before you go to sleep.
  4. No intense work before bed. Furiously scribbling your business plan into your notebook before you go to sleep will not help you relax, even if you’re not using a computer.
  5. No caffeine after 2:00 PM. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, this caffeine curfew could be as early as 10 AM.
  6. No alcohol within 2 hours of the time you go to sleep. You should be sober by the time you go to sleep for optimal rest.

Stress-relief activities:

  1. Meditate before bed. If meditation isn’t your thing, don’t think of it as meditation. Just sit in a comfortable chair, review your day in your head, focus on your breath, and try not to react to anything. It’s like brushing your teeth for your mind.
  2. Read. Find an easy read (try not to break out that advanced philosophy book) and spend a few minutes lazily reading it in dim light with minimal distractions before going to sleep. This will help you wind down. Make sure to keep the light low.
  3. Deep stretching or slow yoga. Your Yoga Stretch workout is a perfect example of this. This will help your body relax and also help your mind slow down. Make sure that you aren’t pushing it too hard, or the result will be the opposite (you’ll wake up instead of wind down).
  4. Epson salt baths. This will help relieve sore muscles in your body. Once per week (on your off day) is a great goal to aim for.
  5. Self-myofasical release. Grab a KnotOut or a lacrosse ball and work on releasing muscle knots and tension from your body. Add in some deep breathing and you’ll sleep like a baby when you’re finished. Click here to learn more about self-myofasical release.

This is a brief list of some of the most simplest, most effective methods of improving your sleep. Here is a list of further resources if you are interested in learning more about improving your sleep and speeding up your recovery:

 

Additional Resources

You might be interested in some tips on starting off your yoga practice, so read on! 3 blogs covering some basics.

About the author, Dean Pohlman, Founder & CEO of Man Flow Yoga, Author of Yoga Fitness for Men, Expert on Yoga Fitness for Men.

Dean Pohlman is an E-RYT 200 certified yoga instructor and the founder of Man Flow Yoga. Dean is widely considered to be an authority on Yoga for Men. He has worked with physical therapists to create yoga programs for back health and spinal recovery. His workouts and programs have been used by professional and collegiate athletes, athletic trainers, and personal trainers; and have been recommended by physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, and other medical professionals.

Dean is a successfully published author through DK Publishing (Yoga Fitness for Men), selling 35,000 copies worldwide in English, French, and German; in addition to being a co-producer of the Body by Yoga DVD Series, which has sold over 40,000 copies on Amazon since its release in 2016.

Man Flow Yoga has been featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine, Mens’ Health, The Chicago Sun, New York Magazine, and many more major news media outlets.

Dean And Dog


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Sleep Better & Recover Faster

5 Comments on “Sleep Better & Recover Faster From Your Workouts!”

  1. Dean, some great tips and advice. I know I don’t get enough sleep, some of which is down to having a toddler in the house. I look forward to the conversation after your imminent new arrival ?

  2. I find lately if I eat some snacks or cookies after dinner, I find I wake up in the middle of the night hot and sweaty as if my body is trying to breakdown that late night snack. Then I can’t go back to sleep for awhile. So I try to not eat after dinner. Taking melatonin before going to bed helps me return to sleep quickly, especially if I wake up to go to the bathroom.

    1. Skipping the evening snack after dinner is a great idea, it’s those small habits and changes that can have a huge impact on your sleep.

  3. I have no trouble falling asleep. I do often wake up at 3-4 a.m. Many folks recommend no TV before bed but I assume that is only for falling asleep, not staying asleep, correct?

    1. Good questions Mike. Honestly any electronic with a screen shouldn’t even be in the bedroom. Looking at your phone before bed or having the TV on while trying to sleep will disturb your sleeping patterns. Plenty of people will argue against this but dark and quiet is the best environment for getting good sleep.

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