17 Jun The G-Force Source: Entering A Parasympathetic State
“Meditate on this, I will” — Yoda
Busyness, endless rushing, stress, anxiety, depression; these are all very common real life issues and finding an individual that hasn’t experienced them would be as difficult as looking for a knee sleeve that doesn’t smell funky. That rare individual may perhaps doubt the existence of said issues if they have not had to endure trials and tribulations in their life thus far. The trigger of stress can be as minuscule as a microorganism or as large as Jason Khalipa’s biceps (refer to exhibit A), but all the former issues are real and that rare no-worry-in-the-world-individual–in the current global social climate–will more than likely face the inevitable chemical reaction in their body and wonder what’s causing their chest to tighten and where their head noise is deriving from.
The treatments of stress and its brothers and sisters are many, one of which–placed highly on our list–is CrossFit. Why? Group environments with great vibes, friendly faces, a common purpose to better your health and wellness, build a new-found confidence in yourself and reach new goals. KABAM! That’s what we’re all about at G-Force CrossFit. In this edition of The G-Force Source, however, our focus is going to funnel into the “rest” aspect of CrossFit and more specifically target aspects of rest which everybody should practice to put their minds, bodies and souls at ease. We’re talking about the importance of sleep and meditation.
Sleep is the body’s number one requirement for recovery. Whilst you enter the nightly slumber and dream of things sweet and tender, your muscles regenerate, your mind rests and there are countless other physiological processes occurring that are vital to your survival. Depriving yourself of sleep is going to have some nasty side effects and most of you are very familiar with the most common of them: tiredness and fatigue. Believe or not, being tired and fatigued can kill you in more ways than one. It can be as simple as being so physically and mentally fatigued that your reaction time to incidents of close calls is so diminished that you’ve just become a human omelette on the front window of a bus. It’s doom and gloom but it’s reality. Sleep is vital to your survival and for ensuring your absolute best mental and physical functionality day-to-day. Getting a good rest at night (or perhaps even during the day with the famous nana-nap) will also alleviate stress and anxieties.
The popular cousin of sleep is meditation. Many frown upon it because they either don’t believe in it or they don’t have time. Our advice? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. That advice is universal and we ask you to apply it to meditation. For CrossFit athletes, meditation is a great tool for recovery on a number of levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Breathing techniques have been proven to help with stress and anxiety and of course, controlling your breathing is a fundamental pillar in meditation.
G-Force CrossFit Head Coach Glen Laws is a big believer in meditation and he also loves his sleep (despite his newborn child messing with that a little). For those athletes that participated in the G-Force workshop on the weekend, you should have plenty of notes on the importance of sleep and meditation in your training. If you need a refresher, Glen has shared his thoughts on meditation:
“We believe everyone can benefit from meditation. There are many types of meditation you can use. We recommend you try a few and see what works best for you. Meditation calms the mind & the body and places you in a parasympathetic state which is the opposite to our normal high stress “fight or flight” state that most of us live in. It helps to reduce anxiety, it improves sleep and brain MRI studies now show that you can see measurable changes in the brain after only eight weeks of daily meditation.
Just remember when you get thoughts entering your mind during meditation, let them in and then just let them go. The more you meditate, the better you will get at it. Stick at it and keep it a daily habit.”
To conclude this edition of our CrossFit blog, our Head Coach provides his top tips for sleep. Always remember the importance of sleep and never defer it for another pointless task. Start including meditation in your routine and if you’re new to it, try it–properly with guidance to ensure you’re doing it right–before you flip the hand and dismiss the potential positive impact it could have on your body and mental state.
Here’s Glen’s top sleeping tips:
- Regularity is key. Try and go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time.
- Lights: switch off most of the lights in the house an hour or two before bed.
- Try and keep a little cooler if you can. Studies show that people sleep better when your body temperature is a little cooler.
- Never check your phone throughout the night.
- Invest in blockout blinds. The darker the better, especially for shift workers.
- Use a Himalayan salt lamp in the bedroom. Helps dim light before bed and they also act as a great night light. There are also great benefits to using salt lamps.
- No screen time 1 hour before bed.
- Meditate before bed.
- Have a glass of water before bed.
- Invest in a good pillow.
- Invest in a good bed.
- Use a relaxing alarm to wake you.
- Silence your phone when sleeping.
- Sleep with the phone as far away as possible from you.
- Try to set an alarm to go to bed. Try and get used to going to bed at the same time every night.