How to Get Quality Sleep After an Intense Workout
Earlier this week, I was asked by Sharmila Velamur if I had any ideas on how to optimize sleep after performing an intense workout. Sharmila regularly trains in the afternoon and has recently increased the intensity of the workouts; this has made for a more difficult time when trying to fall asleep once bedtime rolls around 4 to 6 hours later.
For many people that train in the evening, it’s because of obligations such as school or work that took precedence earlier in the day. First of all, I admire anyone that is disciplined enough to prioritize going to the gym right after a long day at work. It’s not always easy to will yourself to into the weight room right after spending 8 or more hours at a job you may or may not be crazy about.
You’d think that the long day at “the office” coupled with an intense lifting session would have you ready to sleep like a baby as soon as you got home for the night.
But for many people, that’s not the case.
For many people, it’s quite the opposite.
If you’re someone that trains in the evening, only to find yourself restless, staring up at the ceiling all night while you should be sound asleep, there’s a reason why.
You may think your evening training session is to blame for your restlessness — but it’s not the training itself — it’s the lack of stimulating the recovery process afterwards that is more than likely the culprit.
Recovery: the most overlooked aspect
How many times have you finished the last rep of your workout and, within seconds, made a beeline for the exit, jumped in the car and driven straight home? Believe it or not — that’s setting yourself up for failure.
You see, when we perform intense, strenuous resistance training, our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is activated.
The sympathetic nervous system directs the body’s rapid involuntary response to dangerous or stressful situations. A flash flood of hormones boosts the body’s alertness and heart rate, sending extra blood to the muscles. Breathing quickens, delivering fresh…