Sleep is literally the most important part in your journey with fitness whether the goal is to become stronger, bigger, faster or leaner. If your sleep habits suffer, you will begin to decline. This topic is covered frequently but in my honest opinion it is blatantly obvious topics regarding a very serious issue. Let me dive into the issues I believe are causing the most destruction.
- Our brains are not supposed to be exposed to massive amounts of light after the sun goes down. Televisions, computer screens, cell phone displays, the lights we use to illuminate our rooms are ALL issues. The light that comes out of all these electricity sources is called “blue light” and are made to resemble the light we see from the sun. During the day this is good. After sunset, bad. This affects the body’s natural circadian rhythm, suppressing the release of melatonin, an antioxidant that appears to play a pivotal role in slowing the progression of cancer and other diseases among helping us sleep. To make matters worse, we have been seeing frequent reports of even young children having cases of insomnia. Not good. Use a program like “F.lux” found at https://justgetflux.com/ which will warm up the colors on your monitor screen the second the sun goes down.
- Avoid anything that is directly counter productive to calming down. This means stimulants after 3PM. Any caffeine, synephrine, pre workout cocktails, coffee etc. Some people can handle taking these late, most cannot.
- There are supplements (otc) that can be extremely beneficial once you figure out what your body is asking for. With schedules as hectic as ever, it is not uncommon for people to not produce enough serotonin, gaba, or melatonin for a healthy sleep response (even feeling tired) to occur. L-tryptophan is an amino acid which converts to serotonin in the brain. A dose of 500-1,000MG is usually enough to “slow the mind down” if it begins to race when your head hits the pillow. GABA is another great supplement for this, I recommend the chewable version at 200mg 1-2 hours before bed. You will feel very relaxed and happy, but not sedated at all. Melatonin at a dose of anywhere from 3-6 mg is commonly utilized without side effects as well. A last resort can be Benadryl dosed between 25-50 mg, but it is best to not use this nightly.
Getting your proper amounts of deep REM sleep is important. You should be dreaming and waking up feeling refreshed or you will underperform and under deliver in everything you do.