Sleep is crucial to overall Health and Wellness and most experts agree that 7-8 hours of quality sleep is required. When it comes to fitness and in particular trying to increase muscle mass, quality sleep is necessary for muscles to rest and re-build, which is how your body increases muscle tissue. This applies to everyone, not just professional Body Builders. Moreover, a lack of sleep can be detrimental to weight loss or weight management strategies as being tired can often make you feel hungry or fatigue can be confused for hunger, and addition, tiredness can negatively affect your ability to resist unhealthy food. While consistent Insomnia and Sleep Apnea can be serious medical conditions that should be treated by a physician, for most people some of the simple tricks that follow can significantly help improve overall sleep quality.
Create a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Don’t underestimate the importance of a quality sleep environment in getting a good night’s sleep. This includes a comfortable mattress and comfortable sleep attire, crisp clean sheets, and for most people a dark and quiet room. You need to create a safe and relaxing environment that allows you to unwind, de-compress, and fall into a deep sustainable sleep. This does not require a significant investment, quality mattresses are routinely on sale and while 1500 thread count Egyptian Cotton bed sheets are nice, a freshly cleaned and tucked in set of sheets can work wonders. If noise and/or light are a challenge try ear plugs and/or an eye mask.
Follow a Regular Routine: Variety may be the spice of life, but it is certainly not the way to get good quality sleep. The body has an internal clock that works best when the start and end time of sleeping patterns occur at the same time daily. Moreover, attempting to catch-up on sleep over the weekend can actually be counterproductive and further throw off your body’s natural clock. Make sleep a priority and do your best to manage your responsibilities efficiently so you can fit in 7-8 hours nightly
Limit Caffeine Intake: Everyone is different and some people could fall asleep while sipping espresso, while others will be wired at 9 o'clock because of a caffeinated Green Tea consumed at 4 o'clock. It is important to know your body and how your body reacts to caffeine and then limit your intake at a cut off time that will enable you to fall asleep peacefully at your set bedtime.
Clear Your Mind: It is important to begin relaxing and de-compressing before you get into bed in order to have a clear mind which will help you fall asleep. Beginning a budgeting plan or starting a conversation with your mother-in-law about her comments in regards to your cooking 30 minutes before bed can leave your mind racing and prevent you from falling asleep. Try beginning a calming activity such as reading or a bath an hour before your anticipated bed time to help you relax, or at the very least avoiding potentially thought provoking or stressful tasks right before bed.