This Daily Practice Will Speed Recovery So You Can Ride Stronger
“I spend my days running from studio to studio so I need as much brain power as I can conserve to research music and curate playlists. Napping is the best tool in my arsenal for helping me remain energized and on top of my game,” explains NYC instructor JOEY COPPEDGE.
SoulCycle instructors spend hours — and hours and hours — on the bike each day, so powering down is essential for allowing their muscles to recover...and the same goes for you.
“The biggest part of recovery is rest,” explains Seattle instructor EVAN ARBOUR. “I didn't realize how much stronger, more resilient and alert I felt after I included naps throughout the week.” (And naptime will definitely score you some extra wellness bragging rights this year.)
Napping can help you feel more alert, improve your mood, and enhance your performance, reports the National Sleep Foundation. While a second cup of coffee may be a tad more practical when compared to a midday nap, if you can squeeze in a mini sleep session you’ll unlock the restorative, recovery-boosting properties of sleep.
1. Keep it short, around 20-30 minutes to prevent grogginess. This post-nap drowsiness is known as sleep inertia and happens when you interrupt REM sleep. The shorter time limit is enough time to recharge, but not typically enough time to induce deep sleep.
2. Schedule your nap for one to two hours after lunch. While power naps are amazing for recharging your batteries, they don’t replace logging a good night’s sleep. Slotting naptime earlier in the afternoon (ideally before 4 P.M.) while prevent it from interfering with bedtime.
3. Commit to waking up. When your alarm goes off, don’t spend the next 15 minutes lounging on the couch scrolling Instagram. Get up, splash water on your face, or do a few jumping jacks...do something that tells your mind and muscles it’s go time.
How do you put these napping rules into practice? We asked a few instructors to share their effective naptime habits.
1. Make it an APPy hour.
“I recently discovered an amazing app that helps me get to sleep fast: Insight Timer. It's a meditation app that offers thousands of free guided meditations on it, including ones for sleep. This app changed everything about napping for me — by focusing on breath and relaxation, I fall asleep quickly and feel rejuvenated for the rest of my day.” — Evan Arbour, Seattle
2. Set the mood.
“No television, no phone, no electronic stimulation. The best part of a nap is being unencumbered by our daily distractions. Try putting a pillow under your knees helps remove the tension that the day can bring on. And don’t forget to set an alarm so you don’t oversleep. You’ll rest better when you aren’t anxious about waking up on time.” — Isaac Calpito, NYC
3. Quiet your mind.
“Sometimes when I'm preparing for a nap, my mind is already thinking about what I have to accomplish after. To prevent this from happening and reducing the quality of my nap, I focus on my breath first. I start with and inhale of four counts and an exhale of eight counts. This breath pattern signals to my brain that I’m preparing for sleep and before I know it, I'm drifting off!” — Arbour
4. Cool off to cool down.
“I can't fall asleep if I'm overheated! Our air conditioner is set at 73 degrees right now (we are in Houston and it's 80 degrees outside right now), and I sleep like a champ. Find what temperature works for you.” — Chanelle Lagace, Texas
5. Set a time limit.
“No more than an hour. Depending on the day, all I need is 20 minutes, but I try to schedule a full hour just in case I need to use it all. Its different for everyone but any longer than an hour nap gives makes me groggy for the rest of the day and impacts how well I end up sleeping later that night. For an efficiently quick mid-day nap I close my blinds and doors, and tell Siri to wake me up in an hour.” — Joey Coppedge, NYC
Power naps = power rides.
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