Lets face it, when you have had a busy day at work and you get invited out for a drink or you want to watch the last couple of episodes of that show on Netflix. Even that life admin you have been putting off, hell it's the weekend! Sleep is likely the last thing you think about (okay, for some it might be!). But there are a few important reasons as to why you should care, sleep should be a vital part of your routine. The more you get, the better the quality, the better other areas of your life will become too…
SO, HOW MUCH DO I NEED?
Anywhere from 7-8/9 hours is beneficial for most. A few factors to consider here would be your age, gender and activity levels. Meaning it can fluctuate a little but as a general rule of thumb, aiming for 7 will be pretty optimal.
The reason this is so important is because a few processes take place whilst you sleep, it is quite literally when your body, mind and tissue has the time to recover. Sleeping restores and replenishes energy, repairs muscle tissue from training, allows for the normal function of bodily functions as well as giving the body a chance to perform better both in and out of the gym.
SLEEP AND TRAINING.
If you are giving your all in the gym alongside nutrition/hydration but sacrificing sleep you will not be getting the results you deserve. Not to mention a lack of sleep affects your body's hormone balance, this directly affects your energy, mood, performance and nutritional choices throughout the day.
Increasing your sleep to at least 7 hours per day will likely result in better training performance in the gym, better strength gains, adequate recovery for muscle tissue as well as improved cognitive function. Meaning that not only will there be benefits in the gym of course, but you will find your work performance to be better and you'll likely have a more positive and happy day!
SET A SLEEP SCHEDULE!
To improve the quality of your sleep and get the most out of it, there are a few things you can do right now and make it better! If you don't currently have a routine, you are about to:
Sleep / Wake at the same time each day (if possible)
Ensure your room temperature is cool (NOT hot!)
Avoid alcohol consumption close to sleep
At least 1 hour before sleep avoid blue light (phones, tvs, screens etc)
Caffeine should not be consumed past 12PM
Exercise / Move regularly - this can make for more restful sleep
Try and keep stress to a minimum (if you feel like there is lots on the mind in the evening, writing this down can be helpful to ‘offload’ your mind)
Finally, make your sleeping environment as relaxing as possible! Comfortable bed, comfortable pillow, airy, quiet and even using diffusers/pillow sprays for a more enjoyable sleep routine.
MAIN POINTS TO CONSIDER:
Aim for 7 hours of sleep per night
Set a sleep routine that you can stick to
Exercise often for higher quality / more restful recovery
Enjoy the benefits from all of the above! Both in body and mind.
Give this a go and let us know if it helps you when you are next in the gym!