Being a good athlete, whether it is BJJ or any other sport, is determined by skill and how physically well the person is. Skill is learned then refined by lots of practice and strategies but when it comes to health, it has to be maintained or developed. To be able to take good care of your body, you need to bear in mind the three pillars of health: a proper diet, frequent exercise, and adequate sleep.
The mistake that most of the athletes make is that they give more priority to the first two pillars more than they would to sleep. This is a huge disadvantage as it does not give them that extra boost that they think they would be getting by sacrificing sleep time for more training time. On the contrary, research has suggested that players with adequate sleep have more playing accuracy, reaction time, speed and metabolism than players who don’t; adequate sleep also increases the longevity of their performance in the field.
However, there might be problems arising in your sleep when you start training in sports like BJJ or after some time. An improper sleep schedule can be the bane of your health as your body will come to a halt if it is not properly rested, you yourself can also feel tired throughout the day. Before we jump on to tackle some of the problems in sleeping when you are training BJJ, we need to know about something called the sleep cycle.
The Sleep Cycle
The average time that a person needs to rest is between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. It can vary to the type of you are doing throughout the day, for some, it can be 6 to 7 hours or even 4 to 5 hours per night. Now if we talk about the sleep cycle of an average adult, then the brain works between two types of modes, REM and non-REM, in-between the period a person goes to sleep and wakes up.
During the REM cycle, the brain is very active and that is when most of your dreams happen, it is speculated that the purpose of this cycle is to keep the memory or learning aspects of our mind healthy, and during the non-REM cycle, the brain and body go into a low activity mode and that is when our body starts to recover physically from the work done during BJJ or other forms of exercises.
BJJ and Sleep
Most of the problems that athletes have when it comes to sleep are insomnia, they can’t sleep at night and get that recovery during the non-REM cycle because their body is in an active state. How is their body active all this time? Well, when you train hard, the body gets worked up in an energetic state, all of your muscles are primed, your heart rate increases and your breath in heavily to take in more oxygen.
However, after you are done training, the body does not go into a low-energetic state in an instant, it takes time for the warmed up systems to “cool down”; many athletes have their training at night and when they go home for some sleep, they are unable to do so all of a sudden because their body is still amped up; to fix this, you need to fix your sleep schedule or find ways to calm your body down.
Tips for Improving Your Sleep after BJJ
If you have a busy day-to-day life and you train in BJJ at the same time, then chances are you can have an improper sleep pattern or a sleep problem, here are some ways in which you can prevent or fix it.
- Start sleeping at the same time every day.
- Make sure that you are getting full 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
- Avoid using any device like a TV, smartphone or laptop for 60 minutes before going to sleep.
- Try doing things that will make you fall in sleep, like listening to soothing music or reading a book.
- Make your surroundings as quiet and comfortable as possible.
- Avoid thinking of any stressful situation as it can shift your mind in an agitated state.
- Avoid taking any energy drinks, alcohol or caffeine before going to bed.