Centripedal - A Weblog and Resources about Life and Multisports
Hi there! Welcome to Centripedal. This is a website about balancing Life and Multisports. If this is your first time here, check out the about page, or have a look at the weblog or the resources sections.
Recent additions to the site are listed below.
Latest in the Weblog
Thursday 26th 2009f February, 2009 - I started using the Bosu a while ago in the local gym and found it to be an excellent new tool, so much so that my wife bought me one for Christmas! Here are some links to exercises that might be worth trying. read in full »
Thursday 12th 2009f February, 2009 - Well, its been about 2.5 years since posting on this blog. A lot of things have changed since that last post, including the facts that I am now a father (hello Alex!), I am somewhat fit and also starting to spend time reading and researching on the web about fitness. read in full »
Tuesday 18th 2006f July, 2006 - Todays stage in the 2006 Tour de France will be an epic one, and I'm looking forward to
riding watching the sufferfest. read in full »
Thursday 6th 2006f July, 2006 - Sometimes you need a little something to help you to dig a little deeper. Well, the sports world at the moment is not only offering the Tour de France, but the World Cup, and Fabian Grosso of Italy provides a moment of inspiration as he scores against Germany. read in full »
Wednesday 21st 2006f June, 2006 - The idea behind the literature search on sleeping was to try and understand more about the topic so that I could come up with a sleeping strategy, one that included a knowledge of how to 'hack my sleep' in order to get more bang for my buck. read in full »
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Latest Additions to the Resources
There are 4 facets of sleep that most people are interested in:
- Getting to sleep.
- Having a good night's sleep.
- Waking up fresh.
- How to nap/ how to have a good powernap.
In addition, I wanted to know a few more things:
- How can I use sleep and napping to get more from my training and recover faster?
- How can I optimize my sleep?
By understanding how sleep works, a person can effectively do several things to help them to find the answers to all of those issues. So lets look at those points one at a time.
Please keep in mind that this is my own research and present my thoughts and experience on the matter (i.e. I'm no sleep guru).
Getting to sleep
Melatonin is the hormone that initiates sleep, and suppression of melatonin release is caused by exposure to bright light. It is recommended that bright light exposure be reduced 2 hours prior to going to bed, and a gradual dimming of lights can also help.
Having a good night's sleep.
The body likes quiet and cool.
There are times in the early sleep stages when you are aware of your surroundings and can be easily awoken, so minimizing noise is good idea.
Your body reduces it's temperature in the early stages of sleep, and if you can't lose body heat because the ambient temperature around you is hot, it will be more difficult to have a restful night.
Comfort is also super important; if you are having a bad nights sleep due to poor comfort (small bed, bad sheets etc.), consider that as little as 20 hours of sleep deprivation can impair mental performance. Can you afford to make a bad decision because you cheaped out on a smaller bed or less comfortable sleeping setup?
Waking up Fresh
Ideally you want to wake up with gradual light exposure which reduces melatonin secretion. It also helps to find a set time to wake up and get your body used to waking up at that time. Keep in mind the following:
[...] changing your schedule for more than two days or sleeping more than an hour longer on weekends disrupts your body’s biological cloc.
A good stretch, bright light, and something like a shower or some exercise can help to get the blood flowing and to shake off any signs of sleep inertia.
Aside: Sleep Inertia
Ever woken up and felt a groggy sensation and heavy limbs? What you are experiencing is called sleep intertia, and it occurs as a result of waking during Slow Wave Sleep (SWS). Physical activity or some form of waking cue (a shower, for example) can help to reduce this feeling, and to avoid it, take either longer or shorter naps to allow the phase to complete or to miss it altogether.
How to nap/ how to have a good powernap
Nap for a 20-30 minute or roughly an hour long session. The former will help reduce mental fatigue, while the latter can get you some growth hormone (GH) releasing slow wave sleep (SWS) that will help with muscle recovery.
If you wake up from your naps feeling groggy and are having trouble getting going, you are suffering from sleep inertia. Do some exercise to get up and running, and next time sleep less (if it's a short nap) or more (if it's an SWS nap) to avoid waking up in the middle of SWS.
Develop patterns and nap when you are sleepy. Sleep in the same place, in the same position; try to use a low light location and to be comfortable.
How to optimise your sleep
Knowing the stuff above is a good start but the X factor here is you.
- Do you need 10, 20, or 30 minute naps to beat mental fatigue?
- Are you suffering from simple mental fatigue, or do you need more SWS to help your body recover from a long workout or some other stressful event?
- What time can you wake up in the morning, and feel rested enough to work until later in the day when you can have a nap to fend off fatigue? 5am, 6am 6:30am?
Optimising your sleep and developing your sleep strategy will depend on the answers to these questions. It will also depend on your lifestyle; if you find yourself doing less physical work but are busy mentally at work and need to get up at 5am, maybe two 20 minutes naps a day can make this scenario more successful for you.
Knowledge of your own specific needs, tied with knowledge of how sleep works will allow you develop your own personal strategy. Set up an optimal sleeping environment. Identify and obtain the amount of sleep you need (see section by the same title here). Then, fill in the gaps you may need during the day with naps. Short ones for mental fatigue, longer ones for physical and mental recovery. Try something like pzizz to help you get a better rest.
Some notes on Pzizz
My wife and I have been using pzizz for about a month now with great success. It has allowed us to develop solid napping patterns and made it much easier to fall asleep both at nap time and bedtime. I would recommend at least trying it out; there is a free download available. Check out our notes on getting the most from Pzizz.
Updated: I came across The power of the Sleep Cycle today, and it's worth a read as it presents similar ideas to what I write above, although a little more concise.
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