Become a super sleeper with these tips and sleeping aids
You don’t build muscle in the gym, you build it between sessions when your body recovers, and sleep is a vital component of that process. Accordingly, getting the required amount of sleep each night is an essential element of every plan aimed at developing your physique, improving your strength or enhancing your sporting performance.
If, however, you find yourself lying awake at night staring up at the ceiling it is highly unlikely that you’ll reach your goals as a lack of shut-eye can lead to poor workouts and sub-par race performances, elevated cortisol levels, fat gain and, in most cases, it will turn you into a sleep-deprived, groggy version of your former self.
With so much to gain from a good night’s sleep and such severe consequences for insufficient or poor quality sleep it pays to do whatever you can to get some good ‘kip’. Natural sleep enhancers, for instance, can help you on your way to more quality time in slumberland. But before you head to your local pharmacy it’s worth trying to address your sleeplessness with a few lifestyle adjustments.
Try the following tips to ‘hit the sack’ quickly and safely:
Cut out caffeine and energy drinks
Enjoying a cup of coffee or two too close to bedtime will overstimulate your central nervous system which means you might end up counting sheep long after you switched off the lights. Certain energy drinks can also make you feel jittery due to all the stimulants they contain, so cut out the caffeine and energy drinks long before you turn in for the night.
Alcohol is a no-no
Booze can potentially disrupt your natural sleep cycle and also causes dehydration which can result in poor sleep quality. It can also stunt testosterone release and impair muscle growth, two of the most important and pronounced actions that occur while you sleep.
When you are ready for bed make sure you turn off all the lights and all light-emitting devices such as cellphones, tablets, laptops and the television. Any form of artificial light has the potential to affect the release of melatonin, an important sleep-regulating hormone, and alter your circadian rhythm, which controls your biological clock. This may result in night-time wakefulness or altered sleep patterns. The best sleep happens in total darkness.
Time your workout
When you are training hard in the gym you are naturally raising your body temperature and this might disrupt sleep in the middle of the night. You won’t be able to sleep or you may struggle to fall asleep if your body temperature is too high. Schedule your workouts wisely and train at least three to four hours before you go to bed.
Optimise your environment
The bedroom is generally designed to be a sacred place aimed at catching some much needed zzz’s. Don’t do any work in bed because it will prevent you from turning off your mind and it will over-stimulate your senses. You don’t need that right before you go to bed. When you retire for the night don’t think about things you need to remember. Rather keep a piece of paper next to your bed and write them down so you can release them from your conscious. If you don’t make your bedroom a place for slumber you will only exacerbate your insomnia.