Getting the right amount of sleep is very important to any efforts toward increased strength and muscle growth.
While the body sleeps its chemical factories get to work producing the important anabolic hormones, including Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone, both of which are essential for making gains. As a matter of fact, studies have proven that those getting less than 5 hours of sleep each night can reduce their testosterone supplies by as much as 15% in a week.
Sleep is also essential to the recovery process that allows the body to regain strength through rest and properly heal after the workout process. This is essential to making any sort of progress in your efforts as well as restoring your energy levels that will be needed for your next exercise session.
If you are having a tough time fine-tuning your sleep habits, the following tips will help you get some essential shut eye at the end of the day.
1 – Turn off the TVS and Digital Displays Before Bedtime
There are studies that suggest the effects of electronic devices can be detrimental to getting proper amounts of sleep. The bodies sleeping cycle begins before you fall to sleep, traditionally this is with the setting of the sun and the lowered lighting. This stimulates the production of melatonin, the sleep drug.
Actually, there are two important chemicals at work here: Melatonin, which is crucial to the quality of your sleep, and Serotonin, which is imperative to the production of melatonin.
To observe how electronics can affect the sleep cycles, scientists performed and important test on a dozen subjects. Half of the participants were given books which were read for 4 hours before sleeping, the other half were given an electronic reading device, like Kindle.
This was continued for a week while levels of melatonin were closely observed in both groups. Then, the subjects switched their reading devices for the next week and test continued. The results were that the team that used the conventional book option showed a continues higher amount of melatonin in their bodies at bed time. The results showed an increase of as much as 50% more sleep drugs. The conclusion, turn off your electronic devices and TVs for at least an hour before bed.
2 – DON’T EXERCISE TOO CLOSE TO BEDTIME
After you have been pushing your muscles for a maximum effort, you have adrenaline in your veins, a racing heart and blood in your limbs, you are ready for action, not bed. It would be a better idea to schedule your exercise program to conclude two hours before you will be hopping in bed. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise in the evening. Actually, the hours of greatest protein synthesis are right between 5:00 and 7:00, this means the maximum muscle repair. The most important point is to finish your final lifts with at least two hours for your body to relax enough for a good night’s sleep.
3 – KEEP YOUR ROOM AS DARK AS POSSIBLE
Light that enters the room, will traverse the translucent eyelid and be fed directly to the retina. From here, it will be detected by the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates sleep. This can keep the brain active and keep you from entering the Slow Wave sleep phase. This is a phase when the release of important hormones is initiated. With this in mind you will want to make your room as dark as you can before dozing off. This may include turning off power indicator lights, cell phones and other devices that light up when they receive a message or notification.
4 – GET EXPOSED TO LIGHT AS SOON AS YOU WAKE-UP
Once you rise from bed, remember how important the light is to the sleep cycles. When you wake in the morning, the light will actually tell your body when to cease productions of melatonin, the sleep drug that can keep your drowsy. The light also begins the production of cortisol, the wake-up drug that allows you to begin your day with vigor. When you wake up, pull back the curtains and let the light in. This will also allow you to begin establishing better sleeping habits.
5 – STOP SMOKING
If you are a smoker, stop and consider how placing nicotine in the body, a heavy stimulant, will affect the body’s sleep cycles. Furthermore, those who smoke regularly may suffer from withdrawals in the night and this can rob them of the valuable slow wave sleep phase.
6 – NO CAFFEINE AT NIGHT
Here again we see high levels of stimulants placed in the body too near the sleeping cycle. Consider all the ways this stimulant can enter the body and reduce drinking teas and coffees and especially energy drinks, close to your bedtime.
7 – TAKE MELATONIN
As mentioned the more melatonin you have in your body at the point of falling to sleep the better the sleep cycle and the deeper the sleep. If you feel you regularly have a hard time getting to sleep., consider supplementation.
8 – ONCE YOU WAKE-UP, DO NOT GO BACK TO SLEEP
According to the experts, if you wake up and have a hard time getting back to sleep for more than 15 minutes, stay awake. The problem will be to begin another sleep cycle that the body can’t fully complete, you may feel groggy if you try. IT would be better to get by on a bit less sleep once, than disrupt your natural cycles.
9 – TRY SLEEPING WITH WHITE NOISE
A little white noise in the room can help you distract your mind from all the thoughts of tomorrow and your busy day. There are times when the pressing concerns of life can rob you of your sweet sleep. It could be the upcoming tests, the company promotion or the new route through traffic you were considering. This noise can also keep you asleep, when noises from the outside, like a barking dog threatens to wake you.
10 – KEEP YOUR ROOM CHILLED
As well as a Tulo mattress and a good bed, a cooler room is more conducive to a good night’s sleep. When the body temperature rises it is more difficult for the body’s sleep cycles to fully-engage. Simply using cooler sheets is one way to get the body’s melatonin counts on the rise. This doesn’t mean you should reduce the temperatures to sub-zero levels as this would make sleeping difficult as well. But just under 24°C is enough o keep the body cool and sleeping.
11 – HAVE A SLEEP FRIENDLY BEDTIME SNACK
Some snacks are good to have before bed as they can help the body sleep. But, if you are reaching for spicy chips and greasy fries before sleeping you will be making things difficult on your stomach and sleeping patterns. Traditionally, the last thing you eat before you sleep will affect your dreams. Scientifically, if you eat harsh foods you may cause your stomach undue stress and rob yourself of proper sleep cycles.
So, consider something softer and more protein filled. Cottage cheese, cashew, Greek yogurt and milk and eggs are some good options. Try a few and see how they affect your sleep habits. It is best to eat about an hour before sleep so that there will be no undue stress on the stomach while you are attempting to fall asleep.