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5 Sleep Tips for Better Recovery

Sleep can be a touchy subject. While everyone needs sleep in order to function properly, it is especially important for those of us who are more physically active. Not only does sleep help in the recovery process, but it also has many additional benefits. If you want to get more restful sleep, this episode is filled with tips so that you can get the best sleep possible for both your mind and your muscle health.

Listen To Your Body 354- 5 Sleep Tips for Better Recovery


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Key Takeaways

If You Want To Get More Restful Sleep, You Should:

  1. Avoid alcohol and caffeine before you go to bed
  2. Improve your sleep hygiene habits and bedtime routine
  3. Look at your sleep situation objectively

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination

Have you ever found yourself staying up late just because you know you can? This is called revenge bedtime procrastination, and it happens to the best of us. Even though we know that we need to get more sleep, we use this late-night time as an escape or act of freedom, but it is actually doing our bodies more harm than good. By understanding the things that are underlying your revenge bed procrastination, you can make changes in your daily life, bedtime routine, and sleep hygiene to give your body the proper amount of sleep needed.

The Importance of Sleep

So, why is sleep so important? Sleep not only helps with our mental function and energy levels but also plays a huge role in our muscle recovery as active individuals. 

Your body needs a proper amount of sleep to operate properly, both mentally and physically, which is why it is so important to prioritize your sleep routine. While everyone’s schedules are different, I have found 5 of the best ways for anyone to get better sleep and am sharing them with you today.

Who do you know who could benefit from my top 5 sleep tips? Share this episode with them and tag me in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • Why revenge bedtime procrastination is a problem (4:30)
  • The benefits of sleep for athletic people and recovery (8:17)
  • 5 tips for getting the restful sleep that you need (10:19)
  • Changes that you can make in your life to get better sleep (18:18)
  • My absolute favorite sleep hack that I use quite frequently (22:05)


“Sometimes when you get used to sleep deprivation, you kind of  learn to manage, and sometimes you forget how good it feels to be properly rested.” (6:57)

“We need sleep no matter if we are exercising or not. But if you are someone who is highly physically active, then sleep is part of your recovery strategy.” (9:52)

“No matter what you decide, you get to choose your routine. It could include so many different things.” (16:55)

“What, if anything, in your schedule, is within your power to make a change about?” (18:46)

“We talked about revenge bedtime procrastination, what is and why it happens. We made a connection to recovery and training and why if you are someone who is working out, etc., it’s really important that you make sleep part of your recovery strategy.” (25:09)

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5 Sleep Tips for Better Recovery FULL TRANSCRIPT

Steph Gaudreau

The Listen To Your Body podcast is all about helping women who lift weights get stronger, fuel themselves without counting every bite of food performed better in and out of the gym, and take up space. I’m a strength coach, nutritional therapy practitioner, and certified intuitive eating counselor, Steph Gaudreau. This weekly show brings you discussion about building strength, without obsessing about food and exercise, lifting weights, food, psychology, and more. You’ll learn how to eat, train, recover, listen to your body, and step into your strength. Hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And let’s dive in.

You know that thing where you’re staying up late, because, dammit, you’re an adult, and you can do what you want. That feeling that no one’s going to tell you what to do especially go to sleep. Well, that concept has a name. And today on the podcast, I’m exploring, first of all, the connection between sleep and recovery. But also this idea of revenge, bedtime, procrastination, and five tips that you need to know for better sleep so that you get better recovery for your workouts. Let’s dive in. What’s going on? Hello, and welcome back to the podcast. Thanks for being here with me today. Oh, this is going to be such a good topic we are going to be diving into the world of sleep. Now, this is not the first time we’ve talked about sleep on this podcast. We’ll go ahead and link those other shows in the show notes. But it is something worth bringing up again, especially when we’re talking about recovery from our workouts, recovery from our strength training so that we are actually getting the benefits are getting stronger avoiding injury, and so on. And there’s this topic of revenge bedtime procrastination, that I’m guessing there is a pretty good chance you know what the feeling is, but you’re not quite sure why it happens. And so I’m going to share that with you today along with five of the best tips that I can possibly give you for getting more restful sleep. Before we dive into that, if you are interested in getting stronger, fueling your workouts, building muscle, having more energy, and performing better in and out of the gym, then go ahead and get on the waitlist for my group nutrition coaching program. It’s called Strength Nutrition Unlocked. Very soon we’re going to be opening up doors, and I would love to be able to send you some more information about it. So go ahead and jump on the waitlist and you can do that at StephGaudreau.com/link. We go over in-depth the four keys to strength nutrition and one of these keys is recovery. And I just wanted to share with you something that one of my group members said recently, she said since you’ve covered this in class, I’ve made myself go to bed at an earlier time. instead of staying up until midnight or trying to get things done late into the night and voila, I’m more rested for my workouts and everyday life. Of course, we go into way more than recovery in this program. But it is Bob is awesome. So go ahead and jump on the waitlist StephGaudreau.com/link.

Okay, whenever I talk about sleep, it can be a touchy subject. And I just want to start out by saying that if you’re somebody who struggles with sleep if you’re someone in perimenopause or menopause and sleep is chaotic for you if you have significant restraints in your life that make it difficult to get more sleep, stay till the end because I’m going to be talking about some things you can do that are less focused on the things that you can’t change and are more focused on the things that you can change. But recently, I’ve been talking about this more with my group coaching members with my one on one clients. And as this element is called revenge, bedtime, procrastination. There’s a good chance you know what the feeling is where it’s like, the day has been hectic, my life feels crazy. And the only time I have to myself is the evening perhaps after everyone else in the house goes to sleep. Or it’s just the time that I have to unwind, decompress. It’s the only time I feel like I have freedom. And so damn it. I’m staying up late and I don’t fucking care and No one else is going to tell me what to do. And the really tricky part about this is that if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re gonna start to feel that.

Now, when I wrote my book in 2019, I included a study that asked people to perform cognitive tests. So they had to do mental thinking tasks, while sleep-deprived, mildly sleep-deprived. So we’re not talking about all-nighters, we’re talking about, I think it was somewhere in the range of four to six hours of sleep a night. And what they found is that in this chronically, sleep-deprived group, people thought they were feeling and doing amazing, I should say, they thought they were doing amazing on these cognitive tasks, they’re like, I’m fine, I’m all good. But their scores on these cognitive tests, we’re not. And so I just bring this up, because it’s kind of easy to get into that mode, where you feel like, I feel fine. And at the same time, maybe you are not quite able to perform mentally, you’re feeling foggy, have a hard time concentrating, you’re not recovering physically, it’s harder to complete your workouts. Maybe you have to skip your workouts because you’re so exhausted. And of course, there are so many reasons why we could be exhausted why you could be exhausted. But I just bring this up, because it’s common when I talk about sleep, for folks to say, Yeah, but I get six hours of sleep or five hours of sleep, and I feel totally fine. Perhaps maybe not. I don’t know, I just throw this out there. Because sometimes when you get used to sleep deprivation, you kind of learn to manage, and sometimes you forget how good it feels to be properly rested. So all of this aside, this idea of revenge, bedtime, procrastination, is really like you’re getting back at the day, or you’re getting back at the idea that you don’t have freedom, or you’re not able to control your schedule, or you feel overextended, you don’t have time for yourself. And so you must make use of this time that you have, perhaps in the evening, the evening when you go to sleep. Now we know that recovery-wise when I talked about this in strength, nutrition unlocked, there are a few different elements to recovery.

Of course, we have things like actually adjusting our workouts. So things like active recovery, versus passive recovery. We have our nutrition, of course, that that plays a role in our recovery. And we have hydration that goes along with that. And then we have sleep, it is very well studied in terms of performance for athletic people, the benefits of sleep. So yes, we have benefits and necessities for sleep in terms of health and well-being. But also if you’re someone who is physically active, you’re going to need sleep in order to recover or help you recover in part from your workouts. And I say this because it’s not uncommon, especially with some of my clients, people in the community, where maybe you have some of this revenge, bedtime procrastination, you stay up really late. And then you’re one of those folks who are on dawn patrol for your workouts you’ve got up you do the 5 am boot camp, or you’re going to do your peloton ride, or go to the gym, before work before the day gets started. And it gets away from you, which is in theory and in practice, something that works for a lot of people to get your workout done before the day gets away from you. And it just falls pretty far down the priority list. But in that case, cutting sleep short is meaning that you’re not going to be physically recovering quite as well. And of course, we know that there are other things that go on when we sleep, consolidation of memory. It’s like a psychological rest. Like there’s so much that goes on during that period when you’re asleep. So yes, we need sleep no matter if we’re exercising or not just want to make that clear. But if you’re someone who is highly physically active, then sleep is part of your recovery strategy. Will it be perfect every night? Of course not. But this could be an area where you Want to think a little bit more about your habits or about sleep hygiene and how you can actually make some change. So let’s talk about five tips for getting the sleep that you need getting more restful sleep, etc. Alright, tip number one, and I’m just going to get this one done and out of the way, is to try to avoid alcohol or caffeine, close to bedtime, close to bedtime. I personally have been a nondrinker for the last five and a half years. So alcohol isn’t something that I use. But if you are someone who drinks, I’m not here to tell you that you have to stop.

What I am going to encourage you to do is perhaps think about if you do want to drink alcohol is to do it a little bit earlier in the evening. And that’s because alcohol can create an imbalance in the different parts of the sleep cycle, which goes somewhere between 90 and 120 minutes, which can wake you up more often. and result in more sleep disruptions, even if you seem to fall asleep faster. So there’s that. The other one I mentioned is caffeine. Now again, I’m not here to tell you that caffeine is the most horrible thing, and you should never have it. Obviously, it’s on a very one-on-one basis. So if you know you’re more sensitive to caffeine, then you may want to stop drinking caffeinated beverages or eating things that have caffeine in it a little bit earlier in the day, because of the half-life of caffeine, meaning the amount of time it takes your body to actually break it down is about six hours. So if you wanted to go to bed at 10, and you had something caffeinated at 4 pm, then by 10 o’clock, about half of it would be broken down. So if you are someone who notices if you have caffeine later in the evening, and it tends to affect your sleep, you may want to have your caffeine a little bit earlier. So we just got that one out of the way. I hope I didn’t make myself too unpopular with that. But I’m just trying to give you some ideas.

Tip number two, I mentioned at the top of the show that looks, there are some challenges that people can have some things that are harder to change in terms of their sleep routine. If you’re someone who works third shift, for example or graveyard, it may not be super easy to just say well go get another job. That might not be realistic. And you may be somebody who’s caretaking. Say for a small child or an infant, or maybe an older adult, somebody who needs your help in the middle of the night. And so you’re waking up quite frequently. There are some things that are harder to change. And I just want you to consider that there may be some things that are a little bit easier to change. So I would recommend tip number two is to go after low-hanging sleep fruit, things that are easier to change. And these usually sleep hygiene habits. So for example, if your room is very hot, and your bedroom where you sleep, and you notice that and it’s really making it hard for you to get to sleep or you keep waking up a lot because you’re sweating. You may want to seek Hey, can I install a fan Can I get an air conditioner, Can I do something changed my sheets put on lighter blankets, there is a myriad of different things you can try to do to cool down your bedroom. Because we tend to do better when sleeping when it’s cooler. Or you may have some light that’s coming into your bedroom from outside.

Maybe that means getting blackout curtains. If that’s too costly, then perhaps you think about maybe getting a sleep mask, it might not be perfect, but it might do a lot better at blocking some of the light that’s coming in and making it harder for you to get restful sleep. So that’s tip number two, go after the lower hanging fruit. Tip number three, this is so important. Create a routine to help yourself wind down at night. Having bedtime routines for kids, for example, is very common, because it creates a sense of getting ready for sleep. winding down from the excitement of the day preparing to rest. And somehow as adults, we think oh, well that’s just kid stuff. You know, we don’t need a bedtime routine. We’re grown as adults, we can do whatever we want. And while Yes, that’s true. It’s worth noticing maybe on the nights where you don’t give yourself as much time to wind down to do your routine. Does it take you longer to fall asleep? Do you feel more anxious, perhaps less relaxed? So if that’s the case, can you create some state Things that you do for yourself to create a more relaxed situation. In regards to training, this is why for some people, really intense workouts at night are difficult. Now again, if you’re someone who says, Hey, Steph, the only time I can get to my workouts, or to the gym is after work, or in the latter part of the evening, I’m not here to tell you that you must change that, it might be very difficult, and you might have some things on your schedule that just cannot be moved. And so that’s the only time that you have totally get it. But it’s worth noticing.

If you are doing a more intense activity, is it making it harder for you to relax? So for example, our jujitsu Academy has evening classes, I normally do not go to evening classes, because I find it too stimulating. It’s very stimulating for me. Of course, it’s an intense kind of exercise, and there’s bright lights and loud music. And then I get home and I feel like I’m kind of rushing around. So I particularly don’t usually go to evening classes. However, there are some folks who kind of have to because of their work and life schedules. So just notice, if exercising in the evening, seems to interfere with your ability to wind down. And if you do have room in that schedule, maybe explore what it’s like to do a workout earlier. Or maybe you do your more intense movements in the morning. You’re a more intense exercise in the morning. And perhaps at night, maybe you walk or you do something that’s a little bit more relaxing, like stretching, or yoga, or something like that. But no matter what you decide, you get to choose your routine. It can include so many different things you could have around the house and put things away, do the dishes, layer clothes out for the next day, pack your gym bag, get some snacks ready for the next day. Whatever it is, brush your teeth, take a shower. I know some people are daytime showers, showers, some people are evening showers. So whatever works for you just try to come up with a sequence of things that you do that culminates in sleep and helps you get prepared. I also really like that my whoop strap. And I’ve talked about whoop in a previous episode. But I like that my whoop strap gives me a screen notification that says, hey, start winding down for bed now.

I had my bedtime routine long before I had a Whoop device. But I just find that that’s another little visual reminder. So that was tip number three. Okay, tip number four is specifically about if you are someone who has a feeling of revenge, bedtime procrastination, we talked about this toward the beginning of the show. If you’re someone who feels like you have less control over your schedule than you’d like, or you don’t have much freedom in your day. So the nighttime is the only time you have but is also messing with you because you’re not getting very much sleep. Or you’re not getting as much sleep as you want. And it’s eating into your recovery how you feel the next day. And all that stuff. You may want to do Tip number four, which is to journal about or talk to someone about, where are you feeling overwhelmed with your schedule?

What specifically is feeling overwhelming? What if anything, in your schedule, is in your power to make a change about and just start identifying what those things might be. Now, of course, you can talk with a friend, a coach, a therapist, a trainer, just kind of bounced this out of your brain and onto paper or have a conversation with someone. So you can start looking at the situation more objectively. I know when I work with my one on one clients very infrequently is it that they don’t have the information that they need. It’s the implementation, it’s understanding how to overcome challenges, how to make a change that is approachable, bite-size builds on habits, and stacks on habits and so many other things. And so sometimes you just need to see it all laid out. It doesn’t mean that because you haven’t been able to figure this out on your own. There’s something wrong with you. Sometimes we just need to be able to look at it and think, hmm, where do I have the autonomy or the power to make a change here, if any, if at all. And a follow-up question might be where might you be able to say drop or Stop doing or reduce your participation in a less important commitment. This is really hard for a lot of my clients because they feel like some time ago, I said I would do something and now I’ve kind of come to begrudgingly do that thing.

I resent that thing. But I said I was going to do it. And so I just have to keep doing it, even though it’s really interfering with my life. I think this is a point of reflection, to think about what it’s costing you to continue doing that thing. If indeed, you are able to let go of that commitment. And then the second follow-up question would be where might I be able to start saying no more often, or a corollary is, where can I start saying yes, to help? Perhaps this, I know is very challenging as well. But perhaps you’re someone who says yes to a lot of things without giving yourself a wait time, or without considering, is this something I really want to do? Or am I having a knee-jerk reaction here? Or, hey, is there a way that I can either ask for or receive help, perhaps on this thing, or in this situation, if you’re someone who finds it difficult to ask for or receive help. Again, I’m not saying that this step is easy, but it can help you to sometimes understand the things that are underlying your revenge bedtime, procrastination, because, with some of my clients who struggle with this, they just feel really frustrated, that Oh, I know, I need more sleep. I know I feel better when I get more sleep. But I just keep staying up late. And I don’t understand why. So this can be really helpful to get a little bit more insight into potentially why you feel like you have less control over your schedule or potentially less freedom. And last but not least, this is actually one of my very favorite tips. And I saved it until last. I don’t remember where I learned this particular tip from, but it was several years ago, and I use it to this day, I’m not a big fan of the idea of hacks. But if I had to consider anything, a hack that I use quite frequently, this would be it. So I love the dip, the other tips that I shared with you, I think they’re really powerful when you can start incorporating them into your life, I hope I gave you some different options and different levels of complexity, or ease. But this one, it works. Okay. So the tip is, if you’re watching TV, Netflix, whatever it happens to be.

And of course, it is so binge-worthy. Because well, multiple episodes are usually released at one time, you can easily go on to the next one. And for so long human beings in storytelling have been using a device, which is called the cliffhanger. Let me tell you what if you get to the end of the episode, and the cliffhanger is there, you just it’s a psychological slash sort of dopamine brain thing where you’re, so you’re like, oh, I must know how this goes. I just have to start this next episode. And I want to hear from you on Instagram if you can relate to this. So here’s the tip. The tip is to turn off your show in the middle of an episode. I know it’s gonna feel weird. It takes a little bit of realizing Hey, I’m kind of in the middle. But when you do that, the dopamine of the sort of anticipation of the cliffhanger and what’s coming next is nowhere near as powerful as it is when you get to the end of the episode. And then you think, Oh, I just have to resist clicking the Next button. So to end the cliffhanger effect, turn off the episode in the middle, or end your chapter of reading in the middle. If you’re someone who reads at night, and you just feel like oh, this author left in on a cliffhanger, I have to know how this ends. Of course, that’s the way storytelling works to get you to continue to consume the content, which is great, but when we’re trying to get to sleep, and we know that if we get sucked into another 45-minute episode, not that I know what this feels like.

We’ll just get to bed a lot later than we wanted to. All right, doing a quick recap here. We talked about revenge, bedtime, procrastination, what it is and why it happens. We made a connection to recovery and sleep and why it was Someone who is training working out, et cetera, it’s really important that you make sleep part of your recovery strategy. And lastly, I share these five tips with you for getting the sleep that you need. The first one was to avoid alcohol or caffeine closer to bedtime. The second was to go after the low-hanging fruit of sleep, like sleep hygiene habits that are a little bit easier to change. The third tip was to create a bedtime or wind-down routine. The fourth thing is to journal or talk to someone about why you’re feeling that you have to revenge bedtime, procrastinate, and what potentially is in your power to change. And then the fifth tip, my closest thing to a hack I’ll probably ever give you is to turn off your TV or Netflix viewing. or stop reading your chapter in the middle, so that you do not get sucked in by the cliffhanger effect. Of course, I would love for you to share this episode out on social media.

This show has been coming to you for over six years now. It’s a free resource that I’m really proud to be able to share with you all in this community. And in order to help more people find the show. It really means a lot. If you share this out either to a friend or of course on social, the best place to do that is probably Instagram, share it in your stories tag me, I’d love to be able to amplify your voice back and say thank you for tuning into the show. And you can find the show notes for this episode at StephGaudreau.com along with show notes for all of our other episodes, including a transcript, and links to the things that I talked about in this episode, like the other sleep podcast that I did, and a link to check out Whoop and save $30 on that. Last but not least if you want to work with me on your strength nutrition, you want to get all of your ducks in a row with the four keys that it really takes to fuel yourself better have more energy, and perform better in and out of the gym without micromanaging every single thing that you eat, then jump on the waitlist or the info list for Strength Nutrition Unlocked. I would love to send you more information it’s going to be opening very soon and I would love to see you there. You can do that at Steph Gaudreau comm slash link. Thanks so much for tuning into the show today. I appreciate it so much. Have a wonderful, wonderful week, and stay strong.


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Hi, I'm Steph!

Lord of the Rings nerd, cold brew drinker, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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