In case you weren't aware, sleep (along with food) is the biggest thing you can do to improve your training results. That goes for strength/muscle gain AND fat loss. Modern society has messed up our sleep big time though, and people are paying the price for it, whether they know it or not.
So instead of blowing your money on another stupid supplement, why not make a change to your sleep? It's 100% free and I promise you it will have a much bigger impact than even a scientifically backed supp like creatine. Here are 5 ways you can improve your sleep, TONIGHT!
1. Sync your sleep pattern with sunrise and sunset.
Our bodies have what is known as a circadian rhythm, often referred to as our body clock. Amongst many other purposes, this circadian rhythm influences our sleep pattern. Remember that our bodies are essentially the same as our Paleolithic ancestors, who had no light bulbs. They likely went to sleep when the sun went down and rose when it came up. Keeping in line with this is going to be a more normal state of affairs for our body.
2. Avoid all screens in the hour before bed
Screens from phones and computers can trick your brain into thinking that it is day time. This is because of the blue light from the screen, which also comes from sunlight. Try to knock all devices off within at least 1 hour before going to sleep.
If you do need to use a screen, I’d recommend using a blue light filter on your phone/laptop, or some blue-light-blocking glasses.
Something most of society has unfortunately drifted away from in favour of things like Netflix and Instagram is a good book. Not only will the book make you smarter and distract you from the frantic pace of the online world, it will tire your eyes out and speed up the process of falling asleep.
4. Set a strict bedtime and waking time
Isn’t it funny how sleep only becomes an issue when we get into our teens and adulthood?It’s probably no coincidence why our younger selves had higher energy and weren’t constantly searching for the nearest espresso machine to power us through our day. Our parents created a habit of time for our sleep and it worked great.
If you struggle to fall asleep at night but then feel exhausted in the morning, it’s possible that your body doesn’t know when it’s supposed to 1) get sleepy and 2) wake up.
The hard part about making this a habit is nights out. The best advice I can give here is that you will simply have to bite the bullet and take a night of poor sleep by getting up at your usual time. It’s better to do one night of low sleep than have a massive lie-in and disrupt your sleep pattern for days on end. The sleep we get after alcohol is much lower quality anyway so you won’t be missing out on much by cutting it short. Which leads me to the last point.
5. Take it easy on the booze
Most of us drink, myself included. I’m not some holier-than-thou fitness guru who’s going to tell you to erase all fun from your life.
There’s nothing wrong with a few drinks here and there, but we need to be aware of the health tradeoffs on the nights when we do indulge. Unfortunately, going to sleep drunk is much closer to simply K.O.ing than actual sleep. The reason why is because we never reach the deep stages of our REM cycle when we’re intoxicated, leaving us feeling groggy the next day, even if we get a full 9 hours (admittedly the hangover doesn’t help).