Now that we have gone over some important factors as to why you should care about sleep and what sleep can do for your muscle building, fat loss and athletic performance it’s important to also talk about some strategies in which you can use today to start taking advantage of this.
Strategies to improve quality of sleep include:
• Adequate hydration throughout the day
• Completely pitch black room to sleep in
• Unplug all electrical equipment in your room
• Do not have your phone on or use it as an alarm
• Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day and night
• If dealing with pre-bed anxiety, seek out a nutrition specialist and/or functional medicine practitioner
• Try to calm down at night time. Nobody ever went to bed relaxed and ready to properly sleep just after watching UFC or action movies. Not going to happen. Reading leisurely (not researching or planning) is a great way to calm down and prime your body for rest.
• No TV within 2hrs of bedtime
• Not having every light on in the house after 6pm. The body responds to light as if it is day time and this can delay the proper production of melatonin, a sleep hormone that is necessary for you to be able to fall asleep and stay asleep
One last thing that is important to note is that there is no optimal amount of sleep, there is only an optimal amount of sleep for YOU. Some people only need 7hrs, some people need up to 10hrs per night. The idea is to get enough to where you feel best. If you can function throughout the day at a high level without massive doses of caffeine, then you’re probably good. But if you are chronically under rested it should be your #1 priority before ANYTHING else.
A good rule I like to use is that you should never wake up with an alarm. This gets people out of the idea of thinking they have to sleep 8 or 9hrs. If 7hrs is good for you and you’re not being interrupted by an alarm doing this, by all means go for it. It should also be noted here that “more is better” isn’t true. You will not be gaining any advantage sleeping 12hrs a night if your body doesn’t need to for adequate recovery. Simply waking up without an alarm is ensuring you are doing it right.
Additionally, research has shown that proper supplementation with the following have shown to have a positive benefit on sleep:
It should also be noted here as well that NSAIDs, beta-blockers, birth control, benzodiazepines, calcium channel blockers and SSRI’s have all been shown to deplete the body of melatonin which can contribute to a decreased sleep quality.
It is important to understand that sleep regulates:
• Circadian cycles
• Cell repair
• Immune function
• Endocrine function
• Neurotransmitter pools
Ultimately, the results you get with your physique and the results that you get with your game on the ice depend on how well, or how poorly you sleep because sleep is connected to so many contributing factors that are necessary to reach your true potential