Questions: How important is sleep for you? What do you do to insure adequate rest?
It’s easy to confuse discouragement while training and just being tired. The symptoms are similar. It reminds me again of something my parents used to tell me when I was in college: “You can’t burn the candle at both ends.” Jiu Jitsu is hard mentally and physically so rest can be a game changer.
By that, they meant that you can’t get up early and stay up late. You might be able to get away with it occasionally, but eventually you burn out—just like a candle would eventually do if you could light it at both ends.
Once again, I was reminded that I have to actively manage my energy level. If I don’t take care of myself, I’m not going to be much use to anyone and my Jiu Jitsu will suffer.
Of all the things that affect my energy and productivity, nothing is more important than getting a good night’s sleep. Exercise (BJJ), diet, and mental focus are all important, but they can’t make up for a lack of rest. You need to aim for between 7-9 hrs of sleep per night.
Here’s how I make sure I get a good night’s sleep:
- Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening. Use caffeine as a pre work out boots, but try not to drink it with in 6 hours of going to sleep. You maybe able to fall asleep but you sleep quality will be poor.
- Go to bed on time. This is huge. I have to be strict with myself. For me, this means no later than 10:00 p.m., unless it’s a weekend.
- Make sure the room is dark. We have blinds on the windows that cut out 95 percent of the outside light. Again its all about sleep and sleep quality.
- Keep the temperature cool. In the winter, we keep it at about 68°. In the summer, about 70°. You will sleep more soundly if the room is cool enough to require a blanket.
- Listen to relaxing music. This doesn’t work for everyone, but I listen to the same exact music every night. It’s become an audio queue that says to my subconscious mind and body, “It’s time to go to sleep now.”
- Run a fan. The “white noise” mutes outside noise and puts me to sleep. When I am on the road, I loop “Ambient White Noise for Sleep,” which you can get from iTunes.
It is surprising how much more productive and how much better my Jiu Jitsu is when I have had a full night’s sleep. Problems that seemed insurmountable at the end of the previous day are manageable with a full charge on my biological battery. Sleep is one of the things we NEED to have every night. The sleep get MUST be QUALITY SLEEP!