Choosing the right mattress for athletes

If there is one aspect of a healthy lifestyle that can be labeled as “overlooked” it’s the sleep habits. There is no lack of advice on micro and macro nutrients, supplements and whatnots, but when it comes to sleep, solid advice is scarce.

Most of it comes down to getting the eight hours, which doesn’t even scratch the surface of a well-crafted sleep plan. In the guide below we will take an in-depth look of a proper way to go about things.

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Sleeping in full cycles

It’s not about sleeping certain number of hours; it’s about completing each stage of sleep and not waking up at the wrong one.

Our sleep consists of sleep cycles, with each cycle lasting from 90 to 110 minutes and in that time we switch between Non – REM sleep and REM sleep phase.

Non – REM sleep goes in 3 stages, and the crucial one is the third stage known as the DEEP SLEEP. In this stage, the brain is working slower but the body is working hard on building our immune system, re-grow tissue, building bones and muscles etc. You get the picture why it is important to get enough of the deep sleep phase.

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When the deep sleep is finished, that’s when the REM phase starts. It’s phase when we dream. Just like the deep sleep phase works for our body, the REM works for our brain. In this phase, brain gets rid of all the information we took in during the day and breathes new life into our neural pathways.

Some people sleep full 8 hours, but still wake up feeling drained. We can blame long working hours and stress for that, but the cause can actually be a disturbance of sleep phases, in other words they are not spending enough time in deep sleep.

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If you are experiencing this problem, maybe you should start with determining the length of your sleep cycle. This can be done with a sleep tracker. When you know how long your cycle lasts, you can plan your sleep schedule to complete 5 or 6 cycles. This way you will know when to set your alarm clock, so you don’t wake up in the middle of sleep cycle, avoid the common pitfalls and craft an optimal sleep plan for an athlete.

Balancing out the sleep phases

To fix this, you don’t need medications, but you do need to make some changes in your life. To make your sleeping and life healthier in general, you should try to maintain good sleep hygiene and get rid of some bad daily habits. These are some examples how to do it:

Make a sleep schedule and stick to it. If you decide to go to bed at 11pm, try to do that every night, make a routine and stick to it.

  • Consume less coffee and alcohol (especially in the evening hours). Caffeine can have effect even after 8 hours of taking it, and it’s proven that it can disrupt sleep stages.
  • Avoid having „heavy“ late dinners and sugar rushes. Our metabolism slows down while we sleep, if you give your stomach a lot of work, you are going to have sleep problems for sure.
  • Eat more food rich in Vitamins B, C and D, Calcium, Magnesium and Selenium, these are all a pro-sleep nutrients.
  • Declutter your bedroom and make it a serene, clean space. Get the TV out of your bedroom, try not to use your phone, put some relaxing music before you go to bed, or make yourself a hot bath. Do the things that make you calm and relaxed.
  • Try meditation and yoga. It’s proven to help people with sleeping difficulties, and it also helps with anxiety and depression.

Choosing the right mattress

This mistake is even more common with athletes – thinking that any mattress that’s good for a “regular” person will do just fine for you. It’s not the case, especially if are a bodybuilder or a power lifter.

The mass of muscle you put on makes all the difference – you go to bed and those rotators that you’re so proud of get in the way, especially if you are a side-sleeper and on the heavier side (either from muscle mass of overweight/obese) you will exert more pressure on the sleeping surface.

The secret is choosing a mattress that’s just right in terms of balance between support and loft of the top layer. If the mattress is too firm, there’s no place for your shoulders to “sink” and your spine will end up arched and keep your back muscles working through the night.

If the mattress is too soft, your hips will sink in too much and, again, arch your spine and put stress on your spine.

The secret is choosing a mattress that’s just right in terms of balance between support and loft of the top layer. If the mattress is too firm, there’s no place for your shoulders to “sink” and your spine will end up arched and keep your back muscles working through the night.

If the mattress is too soft, your hips will sink in too much and, again, arch your spine and put stress on your spine.

Potential solution – an air mattress

If the previous section sounded our tip involve spending thousands, let’s dispel it here. Your solution might come in the cheapest mattress there is – an air bed.

What makes them a viable option to try out is the fact that the firmness is adjustable and they are often one of the first options people with back pain reach for. We’re not saying it’s right for everybody, but the good part is that even it’s not right for you, you can always store it and use it for guests. They are cheap and won’t cost you much more than that fancy new protein you have your eye on.

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The problem is they can deflate. But, the best air mattresses don’t have the problem. They include a technology that keeps them at your firmness level. Getting in more detail about choosing the best air bed for your body type goes beyond this article – for more information visit TheSleepStudies.com – it’s a website that tests and reviews air mattresses.

Summary

Sleep is an important part of our life. No doubt that the good quality sleep is beneficial for our body and it can sure help with your fitness results. When we think about improving our health, we have to think to each and every segment of our life and try to do the best we can to make it better. Sleeping, eating, moving, everything is connected, so a good influence in one segment will show results in others.

Matthew has an exemplary eye for details in products. His passion for exploring new things helps him uncover and discover product features that are totally unique. When he is not busy exploring a new product or putting it through tough tests, he enjoys playing Ultimate Frisbee and fishing. Matthew manages the Electronics & Automotive categories.
 

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