Sleep is one of the most important parts to the puzzle of health and well-being, let alone transforming your body composition. Many people will forego sleep in an attempt to do more work or socialise without realising the potential negative effects of their actions.
Increased cortisol levels due to added stress leads to stubborn body fat areas on your physique and suppressed anabolic hormones. CNS fatigue can lead to inadequate motor unit recruitment in the gym, equating to poor rates of progress. Sleep helps the body recover, without it everything can suffer dramatically. If you’re like me and you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, try these top tips.
During the hour before bed try and do something very relaxing where you can chill out. This should be something which is fairly mentally soothing and not challenging. Reading a casual article in a magazine, watching a documentary on TV or browsing the web are all easy ways to unwind. Get the mind to a point where it can begin to relax.
Before you try and sleep, unless you are literally at the point of dropping off unblock your mind of all the things which are racing around within it. Write down your thoughts, feelings, goals and even concerns. This will act as a ‘’to do list’’ for the following day and as a result you will feel much more relieved mentally. Many people stress to the point where their sleep is affected severely, don’t allow this to happen to you.
Within 4 hours of bed avoid heavy stimulants including strong coffee because logically these ingredients will stimulate the mind. Foods which are high in sugars are also something I would suggest are not ideal close to bed simply because of the energy rush they can offer, admittedly briefly. Any heavy foods are also going to interrupt your sleep just because your heart rate will become elevated in order to digest the food. If you have consumed heavy stimulants close to bed I would recommend taking Vitamin C to help drain the body of stimulants.
This isn’t the part where I play GP and prescribe a bundle of sleeping pills, but instead some natural options which I believe have many benefits. ZMA is often hailed as a firm favourite before bed, and I must say I agree. In short it helps the body relax and the mineral content (zinc & magnesium) help improve hormone response throughout the night which can potentially improve recovery.
Using these simple tips could make the world of difference. Coming from somebody who has a terrible tendency to skip sleep, I have found these to help immensely.
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