I’ve spent the last week being part of an Olympic training camp in San Diego – and I’m still suffering from the jet lag and the lack of sleep.
I’ve been working as a performance consultant with the USA Olympic Committee for more than four years now but I can never get used to what the change in time zones does to you.
My day starts usually at 4am and finishes around 10pm, so getting enough sleep is a challenge at the best of times.
But it’s crucial to wellbeing that we do get enough rest. We need to understand why it’s so important.
We use sleep as a primary recovery tool. It’s when the body and mind repair, detoxification of the body takes place, younger people have an opportunity to grow, and energy systems are rebooted.
The importance of sleep is regularly overlooked, but getting enough high quality sleep is something we should prioritise so we can function properly.
As coaches, we encourage athletes to switch off completely.
Using electronic devices before bed is discouraged because they stimulate our brains. Instead, we promote relaxation techniques such as reading, meditation and breathing exercises.
Cryotherapy – we have the UK’s only full-body chamber available to public at The Athlete Factory – is another way to reboot systems.
It’s proven that people have a good night after a cryotherapy session – even people who struggle with sleep due to illness.
The consequences of poor quality or a lack of sleep, can increase stress hormone levels, muscle wastage, fat storage, memory loss, mood swings, poor coordination and decision making and risk of injury.
So aim for a good six-eight hours every night to allow your body to restore and to protect vital organs.
The USA Sevens rugby team will have to deal with jet lag when they visit Chester this weekend.
They will train at The Athlete Factory in preparation for the London leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series at Twickenham.
Hopefully their stay will help them towards their target of breaking into the world’s top four.
- The Athlete Factory is a state-of-the-art training facility next to Chester RUFC at Hare Lane.
Classes are there for everyone, regardless of age or ability. Call 0161 2989797, visit www.afchester.global or email firstname.lastname@example.org.