Sleep: Another Key to Fitness – Part 2

Sleep: Another Key to Fitness – Part 1
February 12, 2020
2 Steps Back, 3 Steps Forward
February 21, 2020

Exercise, nutrition and sleep make a valuable health circle comprising the three essential elements of fitness. If you’re looking for the whys of sleep and performance go back and check out our previous article here!

How to get better sleep is really the key to all of this. Most of us can get in bed on time. But do we shut out the lights, calm our bodies/minds down, and really focus on our relaxation? Or, are you hustle and bustling all the way right up to lights out time? Are you the type of person who watches something scary, in bed, on a tv, right before you shut out the lights and try to sleep? … right…. that’s no bueno!

Here are 5 don’ts when trying to maximize your sleep quality:

  • Avoid caffeine after the early afternoon. Caffeine can keep you up and shorten the length of time you sleep.
  • Do not eat a big meal or have alcohol within 3 hours of going to bed.
  • Avoid taking long naps during the day. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but try to keep them under 30 minutes to avoid throwing off your biological clock. Taking long naps can have a similar effect on the body as jet lag. If you need to take a nap that is longer than 30 minutes, try to get in at least one full sleep cycle—about 90 minutes—to avoid feeling groggy.
  • Don’t wake up early to do a workout and keep yourself from getting enough sleep. You are moving backward, not forward. The body needs sleep like it needs water. You wouldn’t deprive yourself of water so you could work out, right? Of course not; it would be counterproductive. READ THIS ONE BTB CHALLENGE GOERS!
  • Do not watch anything on an electronic screen right before bed. These screens emit blue light, which essentially inhibits production of melatonin and prevents sleep. If you need to watch TV, etc., before bed, then buy a pair of blue-light-blocking sunglasses for a few dollars and wear them while watching or turn on “sleep mode” which a lot of smart phones now have built in. You’ll notice the difference in sleepiness right away.

For a good night’s rest, you need a good sleep system. You spend one-third of your life in bed, so it’s worth it to get the right system. Disruption of sleep—be it tossing and turning or actually waking up—throws off your sleep patterns and deprives you of the true benefits of sleep. Many people wake up and toss and turn because they sleep on an uncomfortable surface that cuts off circulation to their muscles during the night.

Here’s what we recommend:

  • A mattress that creates airflow from top to bottom. Airflow keeps you cool at night. A cool sleeping environment helps you sleep better and undisturbed.
  • A mattress with softness/firmness you can customize.
  • A pillow that is as soft/firm and thick/thin as you like it to be.

Sleep Well, Workout Hard

At this point you probably are worrying you aren’t reaching your full potential because you’re not sleeping enough or not sleeping well enough. That’s a good thing because it’s probably true. But keep in mind that sleeping better isn’t difficult; it just takes some effort and discipline. Yeah, I know: 7-9 hours sounds like a lot of sleep. Trust us, as a human who needs to perform at the gym, at your workplace, and at home, you probably need it if you want to maximize your gains. The good news is it’s the easiest way to see significant improvements in performance. So by just following some of the above tips, you should be well on your way to better health and better fitness and a better life!

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