Did you know you can build muscles even while sleeping?
The three aspects of the muscle building pyramid are nutrition, training and rest. Most of us pay close attention to the first two factors but frequently ignore the third and suffer the consequences.
Sleep isn’t a luxury for the human body; it’s a genuine necessity. Extended periods of sleep deprivation can lead to amnesia, delusions and hallucinations. Shorter stretches cause forgetfulness, bad moods and irritability.
If you’re trying to gain strength, sleep becomes even more important because it’s synonymous with recovery. If your body doesn’t get to fully recuperate from a hard workout, there’s no way it will be ready for the next one.
Heavy training destroys tissues. In order for the tissue to be repaired, your body needs the proper nutrients and deep sleep. One of the key events that occur during sleep is that the body releases growth hormone which is critical for repairing the tissues, maintaining tonus in the muscles and keeping the fat in the cells. Since the body releases growth hormone only during deep sleep, the question is how do you get deep sleep?
Getting enough rest is critical to your overall health. Lack of sleep, even for a single night, can have a huge effect on your immune system. Research has shown that there’s a 20-to-30-percent drop in immune system cells that fight cancer and viruses after just one night of sleeplessness. If sleeplessness continues over several days, the percentage of decrease of immune system cells climbs drastically, but the good news is that you can bring the number of cells back to normal with a solid night’s sleep.
So how much sleep is enough? That depends on individual to individual and it depends on a great many variables. Ideally one should aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sound sleep.
Sleep is the most critical variable affecting our workouts. How well we have slept the previous night will determine how good a workout you do the next morning.
Work-related stress is one of the many reasons that most suffer from sleep deprivation. One of the best things you can do is slip in to a nap prior to your workout. You don’t want to drop off into the deeper stages of sleep before training because it will make you groggy. Twenty to 30 minutes is plenty before a workout.
Deep sleep at night is very important and here are some of the things we can do to get sleep fast. Some people read to help them relax. Others take long showers or soak in the tub. Some like to listen to music. Chamomile tea is used by many. A warm turmeric milk will induce melatonin, which is a sleep hormone.
A light snack can be useful in promoting a more relaxed state, but it’s smart to select foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan, which converts to serotonin in the brain, helping you to feel drowsy. Milk, yogurt, cheese, turkey and fish contain tryptophan.
Now here are some things you should not do if you want to have a good night’s sleep. Don’t overindulge in alcohol. The same goes for food. Eating a large meal before bedtime isn’t conducive to going to sleep because the food will trigger various systems, including the heart, to work harder. Also, the digestive tract may become upset and disrupt sleep even more.
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. Try not to have coffee, tea and soft drinks. Avoid any form of strenuous exercise or participating in a competitive sport will work against you. Vigorous physical activity stimulates the body, and it takes some time to calm you down.
Don’t take your work to bed. If you make your bedroom an extension of your office, you’re sure to carry business problems with you at night. Your bedroom should be a cool, dark, sleep chamber.
You may have to do some experimenting to find out what works for you. But if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest on a regular basis, make some changes in your lifestyle, quickly. The “magical one-third of your life” is a critical variable in your quest to gain strength.