Many Jiu-Jitsu classes happen in the evening, some ending as late as 9 or 10 pm! After class, your mind and body are all hyped up and it can be hard to feel even remotely tried. I know when I first started Jiu-Jitsu I had a hard time falling asleep and I would be up until 12:00 am, 1:00 am, or sometimes 2:00 am!
After trying many different techniques to try and fall asleep with, these are the methods I found the most success with. Let’s get into it, 10 creative ways to fall asleep after Jiu-Jitsu class!
- Shower And Reflect On What You Learned
- Write What You Did In Class
- Sit Quietly And Meditate
- Sleep In Total Darkness
- Read A Book
- Listen To A Podcast Or Audiobook
- Avoid Using A Computer, Phone, Or TV
- Set A Bedtime And Morning Time
Shower And Reflect On What You Learned
Taking a shower and reflecting on what was learned in class is an excellent way to wind down after BJJ. Showering after BJJ should always be done to get all that sweat off you from class. But, being in the shower will also give you a place with little to no outside distractions.
The quiet and calming nature of a shower will give your mind time to go through everything that was taught in class. Take the cautious effort to go through the techniques in your head and what details were shown. What happened during rolling? Try to think about what could be improved upon.
During a shower, your body heats from the warm water. Then, when you get out, the water evaporates from your skin, which cools you down. This process helps signal the brain that it’s time to sleep. If you live in a hotter environment having a cooler shower can help cool the body too.
Write What You Did In Class
Writing down what you learned in class will help concentrate and focus the mind on a single task. After Jiu-Jitsu, the mind is racing with everything that happened during the class. The mind starts to remember what was done or not done during lessons or rolling.
Writing what you just learned in class will give your mind the time to think out everything that happened in class. What details were learned for a technique? What could you have done differently during rolling? Taking notes will help you remember the movements and techniques in Jiu-Jitsu.
Sit Quietly And Meditate
Sitting quietly (or meditating) is a great way to calm the mind is to sit quietly in another room for about 15 minutes and not think about anything. After class, the mind is racing with everything that was completed in class. Sometimes writing it down isn’t enough, the brain keeps racing and even starts thinking about the next class.
Sit down in a dark or dimly lit room. Make no effort to control the breath, just focus on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. Pay attention to the breath and how it moves the body with each inhalation and exhalation. If your mind wanders, return your focus to your breathing.
Stretching or doing yoga before bed relaxes the muscles and helps prevent sleep-disrupting cramps. The act of stretching not only takes the mind away from other distractions it helps relax and loosen the body. Yoga is known for controlling the body and the mind.
I did some research and here are the scientific reasons why stretching is great before bed. Muscle activation causes two main components in the nervous system to fire. Sympathetic, the fight or flight, mechanism and parasympathetic, the rest and digest.
Jiu-Jitsu is likely to activate the sympathetic nervous system. It is more likely to activate the sympathetic side because of its high-intensity nature. Stretching will stimulate the parasympathetic side which will help relaxation and calmness.
Sleep In Total Darkness
Two main ways of sleeping in total darkness can be achieved by, blackout curtains or a sleep mask. Blackout curtains have three main functions: Block light, block noise, and reduce energy costs. While sleep masks can be a more affordable option to blacking-out a room (and they’re portable!).
Sleeping in total darkness has been proven to be more effective, but it’s also easier to fall asleep in total darkness too. Being exposed to light at night time can stimulate alertness and at the wrong time, it can alter the body’s internal sleep clock. After Jiujitsu the body is already in an alert, pumped-up state, getting into a dark room can help alleviate that.
The body never fully rests when it’s exposed to light coming into the room, whether that is sunlight or a light source (like a night light or street lamp). After an intense Jiu-Jitsu class going into a completely dark room can help stimulate the production of melatonin and queue the body that it is time to sleep. The added benefit of blackout curtains having noise muffling attributes can help the body relax too.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that helps initiate the body’s physiological preparations for sleep. In short, it lets the body know that it is time to sleep. The hormone is produced typically between 11 PM and 3 AM.
Purchased melatonin in any pharmacy as a supplement. It’s used primarily for people that may be having trouble sleeping. Additionally, melatonin makes muscles feel more relaxed, increases feelings of drowsiness, and drops the body temperature.
Normally I get home from Jiu-Jitsu at 10:00 pm-10:15 pm. My body is energized and generally won’t be ready to fall asleep for another 2-3 more hours. Some nights I need to get to sleep earlier, so I’ll take a small dose of melatonin 30 minutes before I want to fall asleep. In those 30 minutes, I follow some of the tips on this list and typically will fall asleep much quicker!
Always consult a doctor before taking any supplements. I don’t take Melatonin every night as I don’t want to grow dependant on it. I use it as a tool on nights I need something more.
Read A Book
A book read at night time is a fantastic method to relax and focus the mind away from the clutter inside. After a night of BJJ rolling, the mind can be full of, “I should have done this, if I improve that, next time I’m going to do”, and so on.
Reading helps put the mind into another plane of thought, which will induce sleep. Just a few minutes of reading will relax your body and mind. Reading before falling asleep has been found to reduce stress levels too.
Reading a book is much better than reading a book on a tablet or social media feeds. Looking at any device is going to produce light which will prevent the body from knowing it is time to go to sleep. Furthermore, social media feeds and other streams of news can overwhelm the mind with information and visuals.
Listen To A Podcast Or Audiobook
My favorite way to fall asleep at nighttime is by listening to a podcast or audiobook. Generally, I put an interview up on my laptop, turn off the screen, turn over and close my eyes. Within 10 minutes I start to feel myself going to dreamland.
The reason I like listening to something before bed is because my mind tends to wander around while reading a physical book. The act of listening allows my eyes to stay shut while keeping my mind focused on a topic. It feels like meditating, while the constant drone of a voice relaxes me.
When listening to an audiobook be sure to use the bookmark/clip option. This option will save a section of the audiobook. It can be used to manage the time the audiobook is playing so it does not play all night. And, it serves as a place for you to remember where you were in your book so you don’t get lost.
Avoid Using A Computer, Phone, Or TV
One of the best things you can do before bed is to avoid using your computer, phone or TV (yes, tablets count too). All of these devices emit light which will signal your brain that it is not time to sleep. LED screens give off blue light which can slow or halt the production of melatonin.
The devices not only emit light but they can serve as a huge distraction. Scrolling through feeds or watching shows can quickly turn into hours of mindless actively. One post turns into five and five branches off into 50. Not only can it be distracting, reading or seeing a post that triggers your nerves can keep you up for hours!
The best thing to do, if you must use your device, is to check your messages when you get home from Jiu-Jitsu. Set your alarm or any other reminders you require and place the phone face down away from your bed. This way it is not tempting to go check it throughout the night.
I know I mentioned that listening to a podcast or audiobook requires one of these devices. But, when the podcast or book starts the screen is not needed, yippee!
Set A Bedtime And Morning Time
Setting a time to go to bed and an alarm for the morning helps people fall asleep quicker. By having a set time to sleep and wake up we allow the body’s internal clock to stay on track. The biggest benefit of bedtime is that the body will naturally get more tired as the bedtime gets closer.
Giving yourself a bedtime can be hard at first. You may even find yourself not being able to sleep for the first hour or two for the first week (or more). Bedtimes and morning alarms, essentially setting your internal clock, takes time to adjust to. The key is to commit to a time and give it a fair chance for the body to adjust.
Falling asleep after a high-intensity activity can be hard; the body is warm, the mind is racing, and the excitement is high. The main take away from all of the tips is that they’re all about calming the mind and body.
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine is essential to falling asleep when you need to. Sticking to a routine every day, not just on Jiu-Jitsu night, will help you in your success in falling asleep. Taking the extra steps on Jiu-Jitsu night to further relax the mind and body will aid in success!