A good night’s rest is something many of us struggle to get. Sleep is crucial to the growth and repair of muscle, and without it studies have shown we are more prone to fat gain and our recovery is hindered when we do not get enough sleep.
Muscle plays a huge role in our metabolism and ensuring that we maintain the muscle we have and also allow for growth of new muscle will encourage maximum calorie burning while you are awake and while you sleep!
#1 Aim to get a minimum of eight hours sleep
Eight hours sleep is the magic number for most people, and in an ideal world you would not get any less than this.
Try to plan your evening so that you can get to bed early enough to reap the benefits of eight hours shut eye when possible.
#2 Slow digesting protein before bed
Casein is a slow digesting protein and ideal to consume before bed. It forms a gel in the stomach and the protein is released into the body slowly, making it a perfect bedtime snack.
Food sources of casein include:
✓ Cottage cheese
You can also buy it in supplement form and have a tasty shake before you get some shut eye to ensure that your muscles receive all the nutrition they need for the fast that they will be subjected to through the night.
#3 Turn off your phone
Technology is a curse at bed time, and studies have shown the light emitted from phones to be especially stimulating to the brain, making it more difficult to drop off at night.
Computers can cause the same issue, so try to shut off any technology at least an hour or two before you go to bed when possible to promote a good night’s sleep.
#4 Plan a solid routine
We are creatures of habit, and having a good night-time routine may contribute to a better night’s sleep. Your routine might consist of getting ready for bed then reading a book or having a bath, but having a routine will help you relax and let your body know that it’s time for bed.
Yoga is an excellent activity to practice before bed as it encourages relaxation. Keeping your bedtime and wake up time consistent through the week will also programme your body clock making it easier to stick to a routine.
#5 Avoid any stimulants before bedtime
This may seem obvious, but many people are not aware they are even consuming stimulants late at night. Coffee is an obvious one, but many people don’t realise coke and even some protein bars may contain caffeine which interferes with the process of falling asleep.
Many people train late at night too, and might take a pre-workout before they go which may contain caffeine. This may make it difficult to drop off later on if the effects are still in your system.
#6 Reduce stress before bed
Worrying in bed will keep you awake so it is important to try and avoid this as much as possible. If you feel under pressure with workload, consider making a list of the jobs you need to tackle the following day so that you do not feel the burden of remembering it in your head while you are trying to go to sleep.
If you feel really stressed, try to do a relaxing activity for a short while and then try to sleep again rather than just lying in bed wide awake and getting stressed that you can’t sleep!
#7 Herbal tea
Herbal teas such as chamomile tea are known to have a relaxing effect on the body.
If you are struggling to sleep, consider having a cup of herbal tea before bed to help you to relax – try camomile!
Take home message
Sleep is essential for you to make progress in the gym. Your training is also directly impacted by the quality of your sleep, as are your results.
By following the tips above you should be able to improve the quality of your sleep which will be directly reflected in your results!