Did you know the body is generally best prepared to build muscle at two points of the day? First is right after your workout, the second is actually whilst you sleep.
You generally only hear trainers talking about how to destroy your muscles in order to create the tears that your body repairs, or you might hear about exactly what to do after your workout.
However, one of the most important parts of muscle growth is giving yourself the adequate amount of rest to actually give them the time to grow.
So, with rest being such an important part of the muscle-building process, it makes sense that we would look at how you can give yourself the best chance at a good night sleep.
Secret 1. Keep your body in sync with its own natural cycle
Have you ever heard of the body clock? Or maybe you’ve travelled to distant lands and found your body feels jet-lagged? Your body keeps its own schedule, generally referred to as a cardiac rhythm.
Getting yourself In-line with your own sleep-wake cycle means you’ll wake up feeling alert and like you’ve had a better sleep, especially if you make sure you get the same amount of hours sleep each night. Going to sleep and waking up the same time each day also allows your body to feel as though it is having enough sleep whilst it works away on repairing muscle tissue.
Secret 2. Control your exposure to light at night
Our bodies have the amazing ability to secrete hormones when it’s dark that are capable of making us feel more tired and sleepy. Unfortunately, we haven’t evolved as fast as our technology has, which means there are a lot of things we do now which causes confusion and can affect the levels of hormones we produce, and when.
So at night, here are a few do’s and don’ts;
- Don’t expose yourself to bright screens too often within 1-2 hours of your bed time. Blue light (TV, mobile, laptop, computer) is one of the most harmful types of light to your sleep patterns.
- Trying to avoid late-night TV is a great idea too. Not only are the programs usually stimulating, but they also create the light environment that will supress hormones that make you feel sleepy.
- Keep your room as dark as possible when you go to sleep, same reasons as before, the light will mess with your body’s natural instincts.
- Keep the lights down if you wake up throughout the night. Maybe use the light on your phone to navigate to the loo if you have to go before the morning. That way you’ll struggle much less to go back to sleep.
Secret 3. Exercise during the day
This may seem like a no-brainer, but getting your exercise in throughout the day, actually increases your ability to sleep at night. It’s almost as if they go hand in hand, because when you get better sleep at night, your muscle will repair more effectively.
Interestingly, exercise has been proven to help with the symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea, and it will also help you spend longer in the deep, restorative stages of sleep.
It’s worth noting that exercise should be finished way before you’re ready to go to sleep (minimum of three hours before bed is recommended).
Secret 3. Relax, chill, and let the stress of the day melt away
If you go to bed overstimulated, with the days’ worries racing through your mind, you’ll find your brain won’t feel like switching off when it’s time to get some kip.
The best thing you can do Is to set aside time to think about these issues way before lights out, and be strict with your timings to make sure once you’ve finished, that’s it for the night.
If you still find yourself struggling with the stress of work family, school, etc, you can always look at other stress management options (readily available online), to help you feel more calm and maintain a more positive outlook.
We’ve listed a few ways that you can help yourself get a better night’s sleep. The obvious overarching goal is to ensure you get an adequate amount of rest, in order to give your body the best fighting chance at repairing your muscles effectively.
Muscle reparation is not the only benefit, you’ll find you have more energy, feel more refreshed, amongst a whole host of other health positives, that all lead to you being more likely to achieve your goals.
If you’d like more information on how you can better work toward your goals, we are here to answer your questions, just ask us. We also have spaces available for personal training where we can help you on a regular 1-2-1 basis, perfect for anyone training to achieve fitness goals.