Most people realize that sleep in life is essential; however, they aren’t quite aware of how important it is to their training regimen and how sleep and muscle growth are related. Sleep is important for more than just feeling rested throughout the day. Your body uses the time that you are asleep to heal. This is even more important as a weightlifter, though. If you aren’t getting adequate sleep, you’re likely not seeing the gains you’re working for and may even be functioning in a cranky, sleep-deprived state. To improve your quality of sleep, you can try one or all the following sleep tips for weightlifters.
1. Schedule your Training Session Early in the Day
While exercise can help you sleep better and fall asleep faster, if your train too close to bedtime, then the exact opposite will happen. Exercise raises the body temperature and releases endorphins and other feel good chemicals in your body, which can make you too wired to sleep. While you may not have time to fit in a workout in the morning, do your best to schedule your training session so that you finish at least three to four hours prior to heading to bed. This will provide your body plenty of time to return to a normal temperature before you attempt to sleep.
Although exercising too close to the bedtime can make you fall asleep late at night, it can also help you sleep better if you practice a few hours before bedtime. Your body gets tired and really appreciates a good night sleep since sleep and muscle growth are very much related. The next morning you will feel both rested and more in shape than the day before.
2. Limit Your Caffeine Intake
If you’ve not been resting well, you have likely been reaching for a little caffeine boost throughout the day. While caffeine can benefit your body in several ways, including boosting your metabolism and increasing your energy, if you have too much, it may negatively impact your sleep. Imagine that even though you feel really tired in the afternoon and you feel the need to drink something caffeine-related, you will feel more awake not only then, but also at night. And for sure you don’t want to limit your sleeping hours. Stop taking caffeine in any form around mid-afternoon if you have any at all.
3. Follow a Routine
You likely follow a strict regimen when it comes to an easy way to lose weight and your weight training, but you may not have realized that you should have just as solid a routine for your sleep. Establish a solid sleep routine that you follow every day, including the weekends. Having a regular time when you go to sleep and wake up programs your internal clock. It is also good for your health – your body will get used to eating at a certain hour, will get accustomed to a working out routine and will react much better to the physical pressure you are putting it up against.
However, if you head to bed and don’t fall asleep automatically, get up and engage in a relaxing activity until you become drowsy. Tossing and turning in bed will only make you feel pressured and will keep you awake for some hours instead.
4. Shut off Your Electronics
Research indicates that the light emitted from LED (light emitting diodes) can actually suppress the natural release of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle) and promotes effective sleep. This type of light is emitted from your electronic devices, including your computer, phone, and tablet.
It also well-known the fact that electronics release electromagnetic waves that can harm your internal functions. Make it a habit of shutting off all light-emitting devices at least 30 minutes prior to going to sleep in addition to the other sleep tips since you build muscle while sleeping. This will both help you to fall asleep faster and stay healthy at least during the night.
5. Limit Alcohol Intake
Whether you are trying to promote better sleep or not, limiting your alcohol intake will benefit your training in a variety of ways. Alcohol counteracts muscular development and reduces testosterone in your blood. It can also disrupt your natural circadian rhythm and dehydrate your body. You may also wake multiple times throughout the night as your body attempts to metabolize the alcohol you consumed. To improve your sleep quality and limit the negative effects of alcohol on your body, restrain your intake and avoid drinking near bedtime or eliminate alcohol altogether. No one says you can’t have a drink from time to time, but try to limit your drinking as it will do you no good in the long distance future.
6. Avoid Naps
While you may feel the need for a nap periodically throughout the day, it’s best to reserve your sleep for night time, particularly if you currently have trouble sleeping each night. If you are struggling with sleep, try to regulate any naps that you take. Limit any naps to 20 minutes if you absolutely must take a nap, and make sure not to sleep past 3 p.m.
Sometimes naps that take longer than half an hour tend to make you feel more tired than the moment you went to bed. That is why it is best to reduce the napping time for as less as possible. If you feel really tired during the day you can try to just lay in bed with your eyes closed for 10-15 minutes and you will see that your body will react in no-time, feeling more awake. Avoiding naps will ensure that you are tired and able to fall asleep more quickly when you do head to bed for the night.
How Much Sleep Should I Get to Build Muscle?
Whether you are a weightlifter or not, quality sleep, and enough of it is a vital component of your overall health. You should try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of high quality sleep each night. Inadequate rest will not only result in diminished muscle development but will also hinder your overall recovery process from exercise. Also consider foods that build muscle during sleep like casein that will help you further. If you continue to struggle with effective sleep with these sleep tips for weightlifters in place, you may want to contact your doctor to further explore the issue.