Time to wake up people! Not to give you an oxymoron right off the bat, but we need more sleep. It is universally known that the recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours per night. Leading busy lifestyles, this is not always an easy goal to accomplish. The truth is we all need to make this a priority, as this not only affects our fitness goals, but our overall health. I get it, between work, kids, the gym, and school; it may not seem feasible to get the recommended amount of rest.
Let us think of the hours in a day as if they were money. You need to sit down and budget your hours just as if it were your own cash. You have 24 hours in a day, and W, X, Y, and Z is what you need to allocate that time to. If we reserve one variable for sleep (we will say 8 hours), that leaves us with 16 hours. On average, most of us probably work or go to school for at least 8 hours a day, so now we are left with 8 hours of “free time”. If we use this remaining time wisely, 8 hours is quite a bit of time to take care of business. I will be a bit conservative here and give everyone 2 hours in the gym. We are down to 6 hours. Again, I will give everyone the benefit of the doubt and throw in another 2 hours for travel (work, gym, school). 4 hours left!? Let us allocate another hour each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; add it all up, and we still have an hour left in our day. Finally, we can contribute that last hour to miscellaneous tasks. If you look at all these allocations, you can clearly see I gave plenty of cushions on these times, so most of you should be able to get 8 hours of sleep each night. The key here is to be efficient and be a go-getter throughout the day!
“But Garrett, I hit the gym late at night and my pre workout keeps me awake for hours after I’m done.” I hear this quite often from people who lift in the evening. The reason this is happening is because of the stimulants in your pre workout. Stimulants create a burst of energy and focus, so it will naturally make it harder for you to fall asleep if you take it close to bed time. The solution is simple, either lower your dose, or try a non-stim pre workout! Redcon1 offers a great product in Big Noise. It has zero stimulants and will give you an awesome pump! With this route, you will be able to head home and go to sleep without jitters or a racing mind!
Now, you could very well be one of those people who have a hard time falling/stay asleep no matter what. Redcon1 has you covered there too. If you have these issues, give their product Fade Out a try. Packed with an array of relaxing ingredients, including a crowd favorite, melatonin, you will have no troubles getting a peaceful night’s sleep! Not only will this help you fall asleep, but it will also help you stay asleep. This is especially important for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts!
While sleeping, this is when our body does most of its repairs! We secret growth hormone at certain stages of rest, so it is imperative that we maintain a proper sleep cycle in order to get the benefits of that beautiful hormone. Not only do we get the growth hormone secretion, but we are utilizing very little energy during this time, so our bodies are able to put calories to good use, like muscle repair and building!
If you do not want to take supplements, there are alternate routes to getting a better sleep. First off, I highly recommend giving you time to relax before bed. Basically, try not to walk in the door and immediately hit-the-hay. Our minds like to wander and go over events of the day. This can be distracting and make it hard to fall asleep. Instead, try relaxing activities like a yoga, a shower/bath, read a book (or Redcon1 article), or maybe watch a little TV with the family. Whatever you choose, just try to get your mind back to neutral before bed. Another thing to pay attention to is your eating schedule. Having an empty stomach prior to bed could make it harder to fall asleep. Not only could you potentially experience the “growling” stomach, but you may also notice a “cold” feeling. This is from a lack of calories. If you have dinner early, a small snack before you go to bed may not be a bad idea!
Fitness aside, proper sleep is important for everyone’s general health. Lack of sleep has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Those are some of the major issues, and there plenty of other ways improper sleep can negatively affect your health. It does not matter if you feel fine with low amounts of sleep. There can be many factors as to why you can get through the day with minimal rest. Age can play a factor, and if you have to drink coffee all day to stay awake, that is not a healthy lifestyle to live. It is never too late to change your habits!
Sleep is underrated. It is something we do every day, yet because it is something we have been doing our whole lives, we tend to not pay enough attention to how much rest we are getting. I urge all of you to evaluate your sleep schedules and determine if you are getting an adequate amount of rest. If you lead an active/stressful lifestyle, it is all the more important to make sure you are allowing your body to recharge the right way! You all have a homework assignment, 7-9 hours of sleep tonight! Lift on my friends!
By Garrett Skurnit