”Succes in fitness is less about what you do inside the gym and more about what you do outside the gym.”
One of the most important things you can do outside the gym is getting in enough sleep and getting high quality sleep.
Sleep is just as important as nutrition for recovery, and maybe even more so as it affects how your body uses calories and how your body uses energy to perform work. That’s why we want to improve our sleep.
A study shows that dieters lose the same amount of weight whether they got 8 hours of sleep or less than 6 hours of sleep.
The difference is that the dieters that slept more than 8 hours a night did lose 3 pounds of fat and 3 pounds of muscle and the dieters that slept less than 6 hours a night did only lose 1 pound of fat but 5 pounds of muscle.
Those who got less sleep, have also shown to have higher levels of ghrelin (GHRL) which is known as the ‘’hunger hormone’’ because it triggers hunger and reduces energy expenditure.
So not only does your recovery suffer, but you release catabolic hormones and burn more muscle than fat in a sleep deprived state.
Think about this the next time you set your alarm clock early to do cardio before work or school to burn fat.
If you lose sleep to train, you’re stepping over hundred dollar bills to pick up nickels.
You’re much better off sleeping the necessary 8 hours or more and your body will pay you back twice over. Even worse than this are the people that take dozens of different powders, pills and potions to optimize their body but can’t figure out how to sleep 8 hours a night.
And the more you train and the harder you train, the more you have to sleep to recover fully.
6 TIPS TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF YOUR SLEEP
Below I will list some tips to improve the quality of your sleep. You might have heard of them but are you actually employing them?
Set a regular sleep schedule that allows for atleast 8 hours of sleep.
Circadian rhythms are a powerful influence on our sleep. Most of us have experienced this with jetlag or if you stayed up too late and tried to sleep in.
Your body will be tired because it has its own internal clock influenced by these circadian rhythms.
Your body uses daylight to set these circadian rhythms and this clock triggers melatonin to be produced and aid in your sleep. It has been shown that supplementing melatonin has very little effect on the quality of your sleep but It does have measurable effect on normalizing your circadian rhythms.
Your body react the best to naturel sleep pattern, not just the amount of sleep.
2. Optimize your circadian clock. A way to optimize your circadian clock starts when in how well you sleep that night.
Instead of laying in bed for the first hour after you wake up with the blinds closed, you can go for a walk or just eat breakfast by an open window where sunlight can reach you.
3. Turning off the lights, TV, computers and your phone as bedtime nears, helps the hypothalamus to signal your body to sleep. If you’re laying in bed at night staring at your bright smartphone screen, you’re interrupting your circadian clock and sleep hormones.
4. Losing weight because being overweight can cause sleep apnea.
5. Your room has to be as dark as possible.
6. Noise must be minimalized, there is nothing wrong with earplugs if your sleep gets interrupted by surrounding noise.
These last few tips help with the progression through REM sleep and stay there long enough to benefit from the all-important growth hormone release that occurs, which is extremely valuable for recovery.
I is also recommended to not set an alarm clock and just wake up naturally as the alarm can wake you up out of a deep REM sleep which can you leave you groggy.
This groggy feeling is what you experience when you wanted to nap for only 20 mins but it resulted in hours instead.
Naps are very helpful and I use them myself quite often, but only for 20-25 mins because longer than that can get me into REM sleep and makes me groggy afterwards.
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