Let’s talk sleep!
In a healthy diet and lifestyle you cannot overlook the effects of poor sleep.
On a training and nutrition regime, a good quality night’s sleep is vital in helping you to achieve maximum results.
Lack of sleep has been shown to increase levels of the hormone cortisol, also known as the stress hormone within the body, which can lead to an increase of a catabolic state, meaning the breaking down of muscle cells!
Nobody wants to lose muscle, do they?
Growth hormone is another muscle building hormone that is affected by lack of sleep.
Research shows that your pituitary system is most active during your hours of complete rest. In fact anywhere between 70% and 80% of your natural growth hormone is emitted during these hours of R.E.M sleep.
Not getting enough sleep will reduce the amount of GH secreted which isn’t what we want when looking to build Muscle.
I have always tried to train earlier on in the day.
If I was to take any pre-workout drinks which is high in caffeine the effects will have worn off before hitting the sack at bed time.
If you struggle to train at those times and need to train at night, try to stay away from tea, coffee, or high caffeine pre workouts for at least 3 hours before bed.
Even if you manage to drop off, it will interfere with the early sleep phases.
When your body is at rest it starts to recover from your training sessions.
One of the main times the body rests is whilst your asleep and therefore it is vital to get a solid 8 hours of sleep to help with the recovery process within the muscle cells, reduce muscular soreness and feel more energised the next day.
Another hormone that is reduced by lack of sleep is testosterone which is a key hormone when looking to build muscle.
Due to poor sleep the amount of testosterone produced by the body is reduced, however testosterone levels will go back to normal once you start sleeping better.
The hormone insulin is also effected due to lack of sleep although this has been shown to not be affected as much as levels of testosterone.
These effects, like the other hormones, are rapidly reduced once adequate sleep is restored.
Physical activity levels aren’t affected as much from a single bad night’s sleep however continued sleep deprivation will certainly play a part in overall physical performance, muscular fatigue, concentration levels and feeling more lethargic throughout the next day.
Overall, it does not seem that lack of sleep suppresses metabolic rate directly; it may do so indirectly by reduced physical activity therefore, lack of sleep seems to results in less favourable body composition when cutting.
So what can we do to enhance our sleep quality?
There are several things that we can do, firstly, the way that you structure your diet can effect your quality of sleep such as having a small amount of carbohydrates later on in the evening.
This will help to promote relaxation within the body due to an increase in serotonin synthesis which then converts in to me melatonin which is a hormone that has been proven to aid sleep.
The next factor that effects our sleep is the type of light that we are exposed to such as blue/green/white lights, fluorescent or sunlight and dark exposure which can either be absolute darkness or are reduction in the amount of light exposure in the room to help regulate your sleep cycle.
So in summary…
To sleep better make sure that you get ample light in the morning & less in the evening.
Supplements to consider to help aid sleep improvement:
Herbal remedies, such as lavender, passion flower, chamomile and valerian root.
Lavender helps to regulate sleep and can be used continuously by putting a few drops on a nearby object, and continuing to breathe whilst you sleep.
A supplement I implement into my diet is ZMA, which seems to work well as a sleep aid for many people but whether that is down to the relaxant properties of magnesium is unclear!
& that’s a wrap for today!
Ps – If you want to step up your routine and take your results to the next level don’t hesitate to work with me!
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