Dover Personal Trainer on Recovery & Stress Part One: Sleep

Recovery & Stress Part One: Sleep


For a lot of our clients, February, March, and April can be a VERY busy time, and for most it means higher stress levels that can get in the way of becoming the best version of themselves. What most people don’t know is how important recovery is during stressful times, or if they do know, they definitely don’t know how to make it happen.  We wanted to take a moment to address this whole stress situation. Over the next few weeks we’re going to give you 5 tips on recovery that you can start implementing TODAY to make a huge difference for your TOMORROW!


The first one is Get Enough Sleep, followed by managing stress, creating boundaries, clarifying roles, and focusing on nutrition. Let’s get started!


Get enough sleep


It sounds too good to be true, but sleep is one of the best things you can do for recovery, which is why we want to talk about it first.  For most of us, sleep is something that we put off because we have goals and objectives to meet, busy schedules, and multiple roles that we play in our lives, but if you really want to start feeling better you MUST make sleep a priority.


When you sleep, your body goes into recovery mode, allowing your body to rebuild and regenerate cells, so it’s super important to manage your sleep in relation to your level of strain. What we mean by this is if you have a high stress week maybe don’t push yourself as much at the gym and try to catch some extra zzz’s. Similarly, if you crushed it at the gym get some extra sleep so your body can recover and rebuild those muscles that you broke down.


So how do you get more sleep and wind down?

  1. No phone in the bedroom/before bed or turn your phone on sleep mode so you aren’t getting notifications to wake and keep you up. According to the National Sleep Foundation, electronics affect your body in a way that can negatively impact your sleep:

    • They suppress melatonin in the brain. Of course we know that melatonin is the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle. Suppress that and you’re all out of wack.

    • It keeps your brain alert. If you’re scrolling through Facebook or reading and responding to emails, eventually you’re going to come across something that elicits a hormonal response like a burst of serotonin or the “happy chemical” in your brain. A flush of this hormone can mess up your sleep/wake cycle.

    • They wake you up. Just putting your phone on silent is a good way to prevent it from constantly waking you up at night or not allowing your body to get into deep sleep. Putting the phone in a different room is even better!

  1. Stop eating 3 hours before bed– this allows your GI tract to digest your food so your body isn’t working while you sleep. Digestion DOES take work, believe it or not, and the less work your body does while it sleeps, the better sleep you will get.

  2. Cut caffeine after 1:00 pm– Energy drinks are the 2nd best selling beverage in the world (water is the first) and most people use both them and coffee to make it through long, stressful days. This can definitely have a negative impact on sleep since caffeine keeps you awake (duh) but also because it takes 4-6 hours for the effects of caffeine to wear off.

  3. Sleep in a black room – Light affects your sleep/wake cycle, this isn’t big news. But even a small amount of light exposure while you are sleeping can bring you out of deep sleep and cause you to wake up feeling tired. The best way to sleep in a totally black room is to get black-out drapes; they work wonders, just be careful if you’re the type of person who likes to wake with the sun, because you won’t be able to tell when the day has begun!


We hope these few tips on getting better sleep helps you make an immediate change to your recovery cycle. Stay tuned next week for tips on how to manage stress so you can recover easier!


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