So, you train smart and hard in the gym, you stay well hydrated and maintain a healthy diet full of lots of vitamins and nutrients but…………. your still not seeing the results or have come to a strength or body composition plateau, one question I often ask my clients if the above scenario is the case is, are you getting enough good quality sleep? How would you rate your sleep quality out of 1 to 10?
And generally, this is the downfall, people will say 5 maybe 6. This simply isn’t good enough. People seem to underestimate how important sleep is. (Did you know? studies have shown we would live no longer than 10 days if we were completely sleep deprived 😲)
I’d personally put Sleep (Recovery) up their joint number 1 with Nutrition, Hydration then Training with regards to Performance, fitness and changing Body Composition. Sleep is when our muscles repair and grow,
Sleep deprivation can not only slow muscle recovery, increase insulin resistance, and elevate Cortisol (Stress hormone) levels lower testosterone and reduce your natural levels of Growth Hormone (so basically say good bye to building muscle or loosing fat) ,but also elevate carb cravings intensely (making you give in twice as fast to that croissant for breakfast or whatever sugary food is on offer), inhibit performance- give you half arsed training sessions in the gym (you won’t lift as heavy or go for as many reps ☹)
Its important not only to sleep for an average of 7/8 hours but to make sure its quality sleep.
I know its not possible for everyone (especially parents of young babies and kids) to achieve this, but its something we all must strive for.
I’ve listed below some tips for getting a good quality night sleep. Anyone with any other cool tips that they have tried and have worked, feel free to comment below and share.
Key points for getting some quality Zzzzzzz’s
• Try get to bed by 10pm and raise at 6.30am.
• Wind down before bedtime, avoid looking at television, laptops, cell phones etc. 60mins before bedtime, as
the type of blue light transmitted from these activate a part of the brain to think that its dawn, try some
meditation or reading a book the hour before bed.
• Try stick to a routine time to go to bed and get up at (yes even on weekends) as this helps regulate your
• Sleep in a pitch-black room (get black out blinds if necessary or use an eye mask) Darkness cues the brain
to make melatonin, which tells your interior clock that it’s time to sleep.
• Try make the room noise free if possible (throw the snoring hubby into the next room 😊or wear ear
• Avoid napping during the day if it effects your sleeping at night.
• If you power nap do so for 20 minutes or over an hour, otherwise you will drop in to deep sleep and wake up
• Buy a high-quality bed, mattress and sheets, that you look forward to getting into every night (the average
person spends one third of their life sleeping, so it’s wise to invest).
• Try have your room at the correct temperature 16-19 degrees Celsius (it should feel cool so you snuggle up
into your duvet)
• Scent your room with lavender (lavender not only smells divine but it may also relax your nerves, lower
your blood pressure, and put you in a relaxed state)
• To reduce night time anxiety, write out a list of the top three things you need to get done the next day.
• Have a high fat/protein snack before bed to avoid low blood sugar crashes that will wake you up (Greek
yogurt mixed with protein powder is my fav pre-bed snack)
• Avoid caffeine, alcohol or any liquid substances a few hours before bedtime. (nothing worse than waking up
to make toilet trips during the night)
• Right before bed list 3 things that you are grateful for (Positive thinking calms the mind)
• Try eating foods rich in Magnesium or taking it in tablet form an hour before bed (as magnesium plays a
role in regulating sleeping patterns).
• If you do wake up during the night, get up out of bed and go do a task, don’t lay there waiting to fall
So hopefully with the help of some of these points if you have been struggling with sleep you put them to use and will now be starting to enjoy some better quality Zzzzz’s