THQ Trainer Posts
Understanding and improving sleep
By Matt Holloway
One of the most overlooked aspects of a body transformation is sleep.
You have probably heard this before and are aware that sleep is massively important.
But have you ever sat back and assessed your sleep and tried to make positive changes in order to improve the quality and quantity of it?
The three things to prioritise during a body transformation are nutrition, training and recovery
We stress the body, we recover and we adapt.
Sleep is where the majority of the adaptation happens. So it needs to be prioritised as much as training and nutrition.
So many people over the course of their body transformations leave so much potential progress and gains on the table by not addressing their sleep.
Now I don’t just mean going up to bed 30 mins earlier the odd night throughout the week. This is a half arsed approach and wont get you results.
We all make huge changes to improve our nutrition and are always looking to get stronger and progress with our training but recovery and sleep especially is an afterthought.
Think about how you address your training and nutrition as you go through your week.
With training we all have routines to get the most out of our workouts. A pre workout supplement, progressively overloading our weights, a post workout shake etc.
The same can be said with nutrition. Planning our meals, tracking calories and hitting macro targets.
Yet so many have little or no routine around sleep. Watching TV, eating too late, scrolling social media in bed and just switching of the light and expecting our body to fall into a deep uninterrupted sleep is just unrealistic and not going to happen.
So just like the routine that you have created with your training and nutrition, try to create a routine around your sleep.
There is no perfect routine but there are things you can do to help improve sleep quality and get your body ready for sleep.
- Try to eliminate artificial light (TV, phones, tablets, laptops) for at least an hour before bed. This artificial light confuses our bodies into thinking that its daytime and makes it so much harder to switch of and relax.
- If this is not possible then try blue light blocking glasses. I use these a lot and have they helped my sleep quality massively.
- Try not to eat at least 2 hours before bed. The last thing our bodies need is to be having to digest food when we are trying to rest.
- Take a magnesium supplement a few hours before bed. So many of us are deficient in magnesium and this mineral can have a positive effect on sleep quality. Magnesium helps calm down our nervous system and helps increase serotonin, a hormone that helps us sleep.
- Read a book. Reading is a great way to unwind and prepare our bodies for sleep.
- Try to go to bed at the same time each night. This gets your body into a routine and will help tell your body when it is time to relax and rest.
- Try and get at least 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night. This is enough time for our bodies to efficiently recover, balance out our hormones and adapt to the stress we have placed on it the day prior.
I’m not saying every night has to be perfect. There are always going to be occasions where implementing a perfect sleep routine is not possible. It’s the same with our training and nutrition. If you try to do the right things the majority of the time however, you’ll get long term, lasting results.
So if you want to accelerate your results then make your sleep and recovery a priority. Implement some positive changes to your night time routines and reap the benefits of improved sleep.
I really can’t stress how important this is for your results.