Did you know that almost 40% of adults don’t get enough sleep! How much sleep you need is completely individual and changes from person to person, but most experts agree you need between 6 and 9 hours per night. If you are suffering from bad sleep, you won’t get the results you deserve from your workouts!Remember: Your body is like a luxury car - it needs the best fuel (from food) and maintenance (sleep) to perform at its best (your exercise routine). Without the right gas and care - it’s going to break down!
SLEEP DEPRIVATION CAN LEAD TO
POOR RECOVERYWorkouts take a lot out of your body; whether it’s cardio or strength training. Exercise is catabolic which means it breaks your body down!
But, when you’re sleeping, your body gets busy repairing the ‘damage’ inflicted by your workouts. Things like ‘growth hormone’ and testosterone are primarily released during sleep and they increase protein synthesis to help repair your muscles. When your body is asleep, it doesn’t have to deal with anywhere near as many tasks compared to when it’s awake, so it can easily repair and rejuvenate you and your muscles for the next day.
INCREASED CRAVINGSBad sleep can leave you feeling foggy, working slower than normal and just lacking energy. When your energy levels are low, your brain looks for ways to wake you up, which can lead to cravings for fast-acting carbs; like candy!
DECREASED WILLPOWER AND MOTIVATIONDoes this sound familiar? You’re super excited for a tough workout tomorrow morning and everything is ready; your gym bag is packed, your alarm is set and your gym buddy is pumped. But, instead of getting a good night’s sleep, you sit up watching TV. When your alarm goes off, you “can’t be bothered” hit the snooze button and end up skipping your workout. All signs say you need more shut eye!
WEIGHT GAINSleep is important for your hunger hormones too! Leptin and ghrelin are responsible for how hungry you feel and how satiated (or full) you feel, respectively. If you don’t sleep well, ghrelin levels can go up while leptin levels go down meaning you’re more likely to feel hungry and eat more which over the long term can translate to weight gain. A lack of sleep will also stop a proper dip in cortisol, the stress hormone. If cortisol stays constantly high, there is a greater chance to overeat due to stress - which is an extremely bad idea, in general, but especially if you’re trying to get lean.
HOW TO GET A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP
Here are some sleep strategies to pay off all that debt you owe to your body
1. Get to bed and wake up at similar times, even on the weekend
Okay, this one can be difficult in the beginning. But by keeping a schedule, you will help your body know when to expect periods of sleep and wakefulness. It works for kids – they often have a set bedtime – you can make it work for you too!
2. Your bedroom is a sanctuary
That means no laptops or smartphones. By banning these devices from the bedroom, there are fewer things to stimulate you when you need to rest. Conversely, reading can help make you sleepy. Your bedroom should be a calming, tranquil place for rest, relaxation and alone time, not an office or recreation room!
3. Make sure the temperature is cool
You CANNOT get a good night’s sleep when you’re freezing cold, am I right? Change the thermostat, wear your favourite sleepwear, whatever it takes. Studies show that a slightly cool room is optimal for sleep. If you are in control of the temperature of your bedroom, experiment to find what works for you to have the best night’s sleep.
4. Darken the room
Your sleep cycle will thank you for sleeping in darker places. Take steps to block out all light sources or, use a sleep mask if you can’t block out light! Some people find a sleep mask too constrictive and elicit feelings of claustrophobia. If this is you, finding alternatives as simply as putting an extra night shirt over your eyes (not your nose or mouth) can help as it’s a light material and it won’t press against your face.
5. Avoid caffeine
I’m looking at you coffee drinkers especially! While a post dinner or supper coffee can be a habit with some people, caffeine can mess with your natural sleep rhythms so if you have sensitive sleep patterns try to avoid coffee, tea, cola and chocolate after noon. Some people are lucky and aren’t so heavily impacted by caffeine - but for most of you… No caffeine at night!
Similarly, most stimulated pre-workouts contain caffeine, so a common complaint of those who consume pre-workout and train in the night time is that they don’t fall asleep until the early hours of the morning. Luckily there are ways around taking caffeinated pre-workouts at night like taking the caffeine-free PSI by EHPLabs. PSI contains a selected blend of ingredients that are proven to boost performance in the gym minus the negatives of taking caffeine too late in the day.
6. Try these sleep-enhancing foods
There are stacks of nutrients and foods that can help you sleep!
Magnesium – magnesium is awesome at calming the central nervous system. Some foods that are good sources of magnesium include wheat bran, almonds, cashews.
Calcium – calcium is a natural relaxant! Calcium is used in the formation of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Remember being told as a kid to drink a warm glass of milk to fall asleep? Your parents may have been onto something.
Vitamin B6 – Did you know low levels of B6 are linked to symptoms of depression and can lead to insomnia? Good sources of B6 include sunflower oil and seeds, pistachio nuts, fish, avocados and spinach.
7. Try a sleep formula supplement
Sleep formula supplementation is very helpful for sleep. A product like EHPLabs OxyRem for men and women contains a combination of nutrients and herbs that relaxes and eases your body into a natural feeling of sleepiness and once you do fall asleep it allows for a deeper and more restorative sleep. Bonus tip - Using hot water instead of cold water with your OxyRem mimics a late night tea. Perfect for anyone who enjoys hot beverages at the end of their night.