The Man Flow Guide to Better Sleep & Faster Recovery
The recovery section of this program focuses on ensuring that you are taking the necessary actions to allow your body to recover from the workouts, focusing specifically on the most important activity for your overall health: sleep.
There is no agreed upon number of hours that translates into a good night’s rest. Some people are perfectly functioning with just 6 hours of sleep, while others need 9-10 hours. Bottom line, you should not wake up feeling groggy and disoriented every morning. You should also be sleeping enough to allow your body to recover from the workouts. I suggest starting at 7.5 hours of sleep and then determine the amount of rest you need from there. If you are new to working out, you will need more sleep than you usually do.
More important than number of hours of sleep is the quality of your sleep. For this, I’ll request that you follow a few simple guidelines in the evenings to ensure that your body is ready to sleep.
- Eat fats and proteins. Fats and proteins tell your body that is satiated, and this allows you to go to sleep. It also means that you get higher quality sleep. Put down the sugar and pick up the fats and meats before you go night night.
- 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). If you don’t feel like doing any home improvement, just slip on a blindfold.
- Eliminate noise. Ear plugs are one of my favorite tools for better sleep. If you live in a noisy neighborhood or apartment complex, earplugs will help you dramatically improve your sleep.
- 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’re sleeping in 80 degree weather, your sleep is significantly lower in quality. Sleeping with clothes on will also keep you warmer, which you want to avoid here. Sleep naked if you can, or wear some breathable fabric like cotton.
- 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. Try to make this bedtime shortly after it gets dark outside. That’s when we’re supposed to go to sleep. (10 PM is a good time.)
The Do not’s:
- 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.
- 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.
- No sugars immediately before sleep. Put down the apples and bananas before you go to sleep. Sugar is not going to help you sleep. Even if it does help you eventually sleep from a sugar crash, your quality of sleep will be subpar because you fell asleep as a result of the sugar crash.
- No intense work before bed. Even if you are working without a laptop or smart phone, furiously scribbling your business plan into your notebook before you go to sleep will not help you relax.
- No caffeine after 2:00 PM. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, none after 12 PM.
- No alcohol within 2 hours of the time you go to sleep. Allow your body to flush the alcohol out of your system before you go to sleep and recover.
- Meditate before bed. If meditation isn’t your thing, try laying down on your back or resting in child’s pose, and focusing on breathing deeply in and out of your nose, making your breath last as long as possible and focusing on just the breath in your mind.
- 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.
- Deep stretching or slow yoga. 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).
- 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.
- Sleep Strips from ID Life
- Decaffeinated tea (jasmine, chamomile, lavender)
- Turmeric, capsule form (extra strength) – If you have ID Life nutrition this should be included in your PM packet.