The Underutilized Free Supplement: Sleep
By: Coach Mitchell
Sleep is essential for recovery and hormonal balance. It costs us nothing for this amazing, magical thing. SERIOUSLY – if you’re putting time into working out and eating well, but sleep is minimal – you’re just spinning your wheels. All the supplements you can buy should be added on IN ADDITION to good quality sleep, not to take its’ place.
This is when the body releases the highest amount of growth hormone, with the major period of release being about an hour after you fall asleep. As you move through the sleep cycles 4-5 times/night, human growth hormone is released.
So a simple way to look at this is if you’re depriving yourself of enough sleep, you’re missing out on this valuable time of repair and recovery. HGH helps promote a healthy metabolism and improved performance. Both are key factors if you want to improve your body composition, have increased energy, and perform better in the gym or during competition.
Achieving a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep per night has been shown to be beneficial. Bonus points if you can get to sleep before 10 pm.
Symptoms you may have if you’re in a chronic sleep deficit:
- Impaired digestion and gut health or Increased inflammation
- Impaired hormonal balance or Increased food cravings (ghrelin, the hunger hormone is increased)
- Your body may not tolerate carbohydrates as well (you’re experiencing insulin resistance)
- A vicious cycle of requiring caffeine to get through the day but unable to fall asleep at night
How are you Going to Implement this?
- Get to bed and wake up at the same time every day if you can to provide the body with consistency in sleep patterns (circadian rhythm)
- Aim for a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep per night, more if you’re a highly active individual
- Start with adding 15 minutes to your normal amount by getting to bed a little earlier
- Set a specific cut-off time for electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime
- Keep your room cool and dark, you may even want to wear an eye mask
- Cut off caffeine and stimulants by 2 pm each day
- Limit alcohol intake – it may cause you to fall asleep, but it does not allow for restful sleep.