As a group exercise instructor, you’re used to giving advice about improving physical health, but how often do you consider the importance of sleep in your own health journey?

Sleep plays a pivotal role in good health and well-being. When you sleep, your body is working to support numerous functions in the brain and body. It’s during sleep that your body heals and repairs, helping you awaken feeling refreshed.

Why is sleep important for group exercise instructors?

Good sleep can fundamentally enhance your class teaching in a variety of ways.

Firstly, it can significantly improve energy levels. This helps you maintain a high-energy, high-quality group exercise experiences. Feeling sluggish doesn’t provide a good class experience for you or your class attendees, so getting good sleep helps!

Good sleep aids cognitive processes, enabling you to remember routines more effectively and deliver instructions more clearly.

Sleep is also essential for muscle recovery, vital for those who lead intense exercise classes like HIIT. Sleep helps to prevent fatigue, injury, and ensures consistent performance.

In short, prioritising sleep is not just important for overall health, but also in optimising class quality, benefiting both you and your class participants.

What is quality sleep?

Good quality sleep refers to how well you sleep, not just the duration. It involves several factors, which contribute to a feeling of being well-rested and refreshed upon awakening. These factors include:

  • Consistency: Following a regular sleep schedule every day, including weekends, helps regulate your body’s internal clock, leading to improved sleep.
  • Uninterrupted sleep: Sleep should be continuous and undisturbed, allowing your body to cycle through all sleep stages.
  • Depth: Experiencing deep sleep, or the restorative stage of sleep, is crucial for muscle recovery and the release of hormones related to growth and development.

A night of high-quality sleep leaves you waking up feeling refreshed, alert, and ready to face your day of classes.

How can sleep be improved?

Here are five tips for improving your sleep:

  1. Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This regularity can help to regulate your body’s internal clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night. Some phones have a bedtime mode which helps create your routine.
  2. Optimise your sleep environment: Make your bedroom a sleep-friendly place. This means a cool, dark, and quiet room. Consider using earplugs, an eye mask, or a white noise machine if needed.
  3. Mind your diet: Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime. These can disrupt your sleep cycle and prevent you from getting deep, restorative sleep. If you’re teaching classes in the evening, consider when to have your last meal of the day.
  4. Promote relaxation before sleep : Put that phone away! Develop a pre-sleep routine that helps your mind and body wind down. This could include activities like reading, meditating, or taking a warm bath. You could also practice the 4/7/8 breathing technique to aid your sleep. To do this, close your mouth and quietly inhale through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound for a count of eight. Repeat the process three more times for a total of four breath cycles.
  5. Avoid late-night teaching where possible: Regular physical activity during the day can help you sleep better at night. However, try to finish exercising at least three hours before you plan to sleep. This helps your body have enough time to wind down. Think about when your last class is plan accordingly.

Improving your sleep quality can bring about significant changes in your professional and personal life. Proper sleep not only restores the body but also helps to improve concentration, productivity, and overall mood. Let’s make good sleep a priority.

Looking for more wellness tips?

Sign up to our webinar Wellness Beyond the Studio: A guide for instructors to get more tips on how you can boost your wellness!

Taking place Wednesday 20 September at 1.00pm. Book your space here.

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