Most people that are into fitness know that getting the right amount of rest, and proper sleep, is an important element to living healthy and making gains. However, some of you might be ignoring this crucial component. Regardless of how early you get up to workout, how many calories you count, or how hard you train, without a good night’s sleep to recover, your body will never reach it’s full potential. Cheri Mah, M.S., a researcher at the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory, agrees that adequate sleep helps you maintain your edge. She stated, “Sleep is a foundation that allows you to train and perform at your best.”
Getting good, quality sleep plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy body. Furthermore, sleep is essential for muscle recovery, fat burning, creation and maintenance of lean muscle, and overall metabolic health. The deepest stages of sleep are when the real action takes place. This is when our muscles really grow, as our bodies release natural anabolic chemicals, like testosterone and growth hormone.
The problem is that many of us struggle to get the quality sleep we need. This is mostly due to our lifestyle habits. However, these bad behaviors can be changed with a little work. Be sure to follow these tips from one of our coaches, who’s a great personal trainer in Raleigh.
Good Sleeping Tips
Make Sleep a Priority – Typically, adults need to sleep between 7-9 hours daily. Make sure you prioritize these hours each night, even if it means going to bed earlier. If you do not make time for yourself to sleep, the rest of these tips will not matter.
Pitch Black – In order to get a good night’s sleep, be sure to control the light pollution in your room. Exposure to light is the primary determinant of circadian rhythm, or the way our brains recognize that it’s time to sleep. Limit your use of bright and blue light sources at least 1 – 3 hours before bedtime. Blue light actually suppresses melatonin, so try to avoid using your mobile devices, and other bright electronics as much as possible late at night. Cover all light sources, such as clocks, in your room as well.
Rise and Shine – As soon as you wake up in the morning, deliberately expose yourself to bright, natural light. This will help to reset your internal clock and actually makes falling asleep easier.
Exercise – There is a ton of research out there that shows getting the right amounts of daily exercise will help you sleep and rest better. So, get out there and do something active.
Watch the Stimulants – You have to really watch what you eat and drink late in the afternoon, or at night. Especially when it comes to sweets and caffeine. Try to avoid eating sweets or drinking heavily caffeinated drinks after lunch, especially coffee and tea.
Relax and Unwind – Try not to go to bed all wound up. Try to relax and unwind before you hit the sheets. We know you have a lot on your mind, but try not to take it to bed with you. You should avoid having any heated discussions or arguments before bed. Try not to watch the news if it upsets you. Create an emotional buffer zone before it’s time to go sleep. Trust us when we say that you will rest a lot better.
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