So, you’ve checked the forecast for the next morning. It’s going to be firing. You’ve committed to an early start. You’ve set your alarm. You’ve decided on your break. Maybe you’ve even pre-made a little breakfast for the ride (maybe). The question is, will you have the energy to not only spring out of bed like its Christmas morning but surf at a high level and perform throughout the session?
When it comes to fitness and wellbeing, people tend to focus on good quality food and regular exercise. Most surfers concentrate on their ocean-time to hone technique and increase stamina.
However, one piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked is one of our most basic necessities: sleep.
Regular sleep patterns have a powerful effect on our overall health. They play a crucial role in many important bodily processes including hormone regulation, brain function, mood, temperature, energy levels, tissue renewal, heart rate, appetite, digestion and detoxification. In fact, there is a direct relationship between sleep, athletic performance, and the body’s ability to recover. While we sleep heart rate slows, body temperature drops, muscles relax and the body repairs itself. Making sure you have adequate sleep will not only see you waking up on time, but it will see you surfing better and longer, and it will maximize your enjoyment.
Tips to ensure a good night sleep:
• Say no to your afternoon coffee. Caffeine can excite the nervous system, interrupting sleep cycles especially if consumed after 4pm.
• Once the sun has set, dim all artificial sources of light. Do not use computers or phones 1 hour prior to sleep to avoid interfering with melatonin production.
• Avoid liquids 1-2 hours before bed.
• If anxiety or a restless mind is a concern, sip chamomile tea 2 hours prior to induce calm.
• Take a hot bath/shower 1-2 hours before bed. The temperature drop signals to your body its time for sleep.
• Sniff lavender in bed to bring on sleepiness.
• Take 10-20 large diaphragmatic breaths to unwind.
• Keep the alarm clock out of sight so you aren’t constantly checking it.
• Keep a pen and paper next to your bed in case you remember something you MUST jot down. This saves you getting up or using your brightly lit phone, and saves you the worry of remembering whatever it is in your sleepy state.
• Sleep in total darkness.