10 Ways To Sleep Better
A good night’s sleep is one of the most underrated things when it comes to not only your overall health, but also your recovery from training. Honestly, we feel like the topic of sleep and how important it is is not talked about enough in the fitness circles. Waking up refreshed, energized, and ready to take on the world is the feeling that all of us would love to have but only a few ever do. So many people have sleep problems, so what are some ways to sleep better?
Importance of Sleep
Sleep problems are a huge issue that no one really talks about. Whether you are tossing and turning all night, wake up randomly, or cannot get yourself to fall asleep to begin with, that is a huge issue that is only hurting your gains.
Sleep deprivation is unhealthy and some of its effects include immune system failure, diabetes, cancer, obesity, depression, and memory loss. Not only that, but sleep is also crucial for generating more testosterone as well as human growth hormone (HGH) in the body, which are both essential muscle building hormones. That being said, sleep is so important for recovery, as it works to heal your body and build back your muscles bigger and stronger.
Whether you suffer from insomnia, are a light sleeper or a night owl, these tips should help you improve your sleep.
Get More Sunlight During the Day
Sunlight does more for you than just give you a nice tan, it actually can help you sleep. A naturally secreted hormone called melatonin is one of the most vital things that induces great sleep. Sunlight provides the natural spectrum of light that we need to help coordinate the cycle of melatonin production. Melatonin then sends a signal to regulate the sleep-wake cycle in your body.
Avoid Screens Before Sleeping
Using phones, computers or tablets too close to bedtime is a big reason why many people have trouble falling asleep. Your electronic devices transmit a “blue light” that triggers the body to produce more daytime hormones (like the stress hormone cortisol) and disorient your body’s natural preparation for sleep. Limiting your screen time before bed can help you sleep easier at night.
Limit Your Caffeine
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can disrupt your sleep cycle. Yes, we know how delicious and refreshing some of those pre-workouts and energy drinks are, but unfortunately they could be keeping you up at night. You should not only limit your intake of caffeine in order to help you sleep better, but also set a caffeine curfew time and stick to it. Setting a cut-off time will give your body time to remove it from your system.
According to a study by the Harvard Medical School, your body begins to drop in temperature right before you fall asleep. During sleep, your core temp is reduced by 1 to 2°F, as a way to conserve energy. Sleeping in a colder room will help you drop to that level faster, which will help you fall asleep (and stay that way) quicker.
Keep Your Gadgets Out of the Room
Studies have shown that Electromagnetic Fields or Electromagnetic Noise (EMFs) coming from our everyday electronic devices can disrupt communication between the cells in our body. Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary and keep all the distracting elements out of it.
Eat a High Protein Low Carb Snack Close To Bedtime
Eating a high carb meal before bedtime can cause a sharp drop in blood sugar levels which can cause trouble in falling asleep or wake you up if you’re sleeping. Having a high protein meal at least 90-minutes before your bedtime can aid in falling and staying asleep. A lot of people will use casein protein shakes right before bed.
Cut the Booze Before Bed
Although alcohol might help you in falling asleep faster, it disrupts the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and you won’t be able to fall into deeper levels of sleep, and your brain and body won’t be able to fully rejuvenate. Cutting out alcohol before bed can help you sleep.
Shut Your Brain Off
This is easier said than done. Now and then the stress from work, home, finances, and even the physical stress of training in the gym can get to you. If you have trouble falling asleep, meditating for 10-15 minutes on the bed can put your mind at ease, and help you to fall asleep faster.
Set an Alarm Before Bed
This might sound counter-intuitive but one of the best things you can do to improve your sleep is to get up early. Knowing that you have to wake up at a certain time will make you hit the bed at the right time.
Ideally, you should fix your sleep problem by working on your lifestyle but if you don’t seem to be making progress, supplements can be a lifesaver. So many people will buy their pre-workouts, creatine, protein, and multivitamins, but not really focus on the importance of sleep. There are supplements designed for you to fall asleep faster, a lot of them being natural supplements too, such as melatonin or even the CBD options that are available.
If you do end up taking medication or supplements, make sure you don’t form a dependency.
Sleep Problems Wrap Up
Overall, sleep problems are something that many people suffer from, and honestly the importance of a good night’s sleep is not talked about enough in the fitness industry. People will share their diet, supplement, and training routines, but not talk about the importance of getting 8 hours of sleep.
Sleep aids in things like muscle growth and recovery, so why would you want to avoid something like that? Do yourself a favor and get the proper amount of shut eye tonight.