Making sure you keep yourself healthy and active by regular training and eating a balanced diet, is a sure way to achieve and maintain your personal best. However ensuring that you get enough sleep each day is also an integral part of the growth and development of muscles, as well as helping you approach each day with motivation and a smile!
It doesn’t matter how many box jumps you do or kilos you lift, how many miles you run or how much fuel you are feeding yourself, if you are not getting the appropriate amount of rest each day then your body will not be able to adapt.
The best and most effective form of rest is sleep, and between 7-9 hours each night should be sufficient for most people. As you sleep Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released, via the pituitary gland. This growth hormone stimulates protein synthesis which promotes muscle cell development, growth and repair.
Some people struggle getting to sleep, or find that they often wake up during the night, and this can really disrupt your energy levels the following day, as well as reduce the amount of HGH that is released. So here are some suggestions that I use to help me drift off when I want to, as well as encourage my body to stay sleeping throughout the whole night:
- Try turning down the lights, and destimulating the mind by turning off the TV and switching off your computer about an hour before you are planning on going to bed. Writing in your journal is a great alternative that isn’t mentally or physically demanding.
- Avoid drinking stimulants, such as tea and coffee, from late afternoon.
- Make sure you eat enough during the day, because a lack of nutrients and fuel can be a factor with people who wake up during the night. On that same note, try not to eat just before going to bed as your body will have to work overtime digesting your meal.
- Avoid over stimulating your body with a high intensity workout just before sleep. You will most likely find that even though your body feels exhausted afterwards, your mind continues to race!
- Meditation is a great way to wind down after your day and prepare your mind for a deep, relaxing sleep.
- Take a hot bath with some Epsom salts or a drop of your favourite essential oil, or if you don’t have a bath then a nice hot shower will have the same relaxing effect.