I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, staying up until the early hours and happily sleeping away the day. That’s not a sustainable routine when working or studying and it’s definitely not the optimal setup if you want to see the benefits of your work in the gym.
Sleep is essential to allow the body to recover and grow – you should consider it in the top three elements of bodybuilding / fitness alongside what you do in the gym and your nutrition. A lack of sleep can lead to an increase in cortisol which has in turn been linked with slowing down the fat burning process and reducing protein synthesis.
So, with that in mind, here are some tips to improve your sleep…
As I’ve mentioned before, I generally like to hit the gym later in the day. It means that my mind is 100% focused, I’ve eaten my meals for the day and I work quicker if the gym is quiet. The problem is, sometimes it can be difficult to come down / cool down – particularly when you are taking a pre-workout late in the day.
We need to aim for AT LEAST seven hours sleep per night, with closer to nine probably optimal following tough gym sessions, so make sure you plan enough time for your body temperature to return to normal and the pre-workout effects to fully pass before you hit the sack.
This next tip might feel a bit child-like but I’ve noticed real benefits in sticking to a regular bedtime. If you add some consistency to your daily routine, your body will become accustomed to your schedule.
And lastly, if you are cutting weight, you might find benefit scheduling your last protein intake of the day just before bed. A slow digesting casein will make sure you don’t have your sleep disrupted by hunger pangs!
How do you make sure you get enough sleep? And do you ever wake up with hunger pangs??
Let me know on Twitter or in the comments below.