Have you ever stopped and actually thought what sleep is doing for you and how crucial sleep is??? Keep reading... Even the best training plan and diet will come unstuck if you are not getting adequate sleep. Your body will produce way to much cortisol, and store it in a nice little pouch on your tummy and give you some permanent pockets on your thighs...if that’s not enough to have you running for the duvet and a solid 8 hours of shut eye...keep reading.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SLEEP? The repair of muscles, organs and other tissues: Research suggests that during sleep the body is able to: restore organs, bones, and tissue; replenish immune cells; and circulate human growth hormone. Sleep has a profound effect on muscle growth and physical well-being.
SLEEP TO RECHARGE THE BRAIN… During sleep, levels of adenosine decline (adenosine is a neurotransmitter). When Adenosine decreases and is not flowing as readily through the brain the brain has been shown to increase alertness, so this suggests that during sleep the brain is recharging...
A WELL RESTED BRAIN... gives us plenty more energy to kick arse at training and deal with any craziness that may lie ahead.
WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP…. A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by; even if we manage to get to sleep the quality of the sleep may not be sufficient. The following is a list of ways to assist in getting the good night’s sleep you require.
1) NEVER OVERSLEEP: Oversleeping may set the body’s clock to a different cycle. This will make trying to fall asleep next time around much harder.
2) TAKE A WARM BATH: A warm bath will sooth and relax your muscles and mind prior to bed. Add Epsom salts for additional benefits. When magnesium sulfate is absorbed through the skin, such as in a bath, it draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles, and is a natural emollient, exfoliator, and much more...BLISS!
3) EXERCISE: Exercising, particularly aerobic, during the day will sufficiently tire one out and sleep will come faster at night.
4) AVOID ALCOHOL, Caffeine & Tyrosine-Rich Foods at Night: Caffeine causes hyperactivity and wakefulness. Even one cup of coffee during the day can lead to a restless night.
Tyrosine- rich foods (sesame seeds, fish, cheese, soy products, peanuts, seaweed) are brain stimulating and may keep you awake. Some may not be affected...but worth noting.
Alcohol significantly disrupts sleep by interfering with the stages of sleep...so that glass of wine to calm you down and RELAX you may actually be keeping you up.
5) AVOID SLEEPING PILLS: These may work temporarily but in the long term will cause disturbed sleep patterns as well as other side-effects.
6) CORRECT SLEEPING ENVIRONMENT: Keep your room reasonably cool. Humidity may cause disrupted sleep. A fan running or soft background music may help to relax and encourage sleep.
7) HERBAL TEA: Herbal teas using botanicals that have a natural sedative effect can be both soothing and relaxing before bed time. Try natural chamomile tea. Teas made from passion flower and valerian are also considered to be very relaxing and help to encourage sleep.
Although sleep is important it’s NOT an excuse to sleep in and miss training. If you get to bed early, you will wake up early. The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise may seem daunting, especially this time of year, but many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early.
Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.”
Final words...Remember, it's called 'Beauty Sleep' for a reason.