A couple things happen when you sleep:
1. It is the ONLY time when your body can heal itself from a training standpoint and crucial for someone training for something specific. This will be talked about again in the Recovery post coming later this week or next
2. Your brain rests. All day your brain has two functions. One is dealing with the conscious world and the other is unconsciously keeping you alive (breathing, regulating heart rate, Hormones, and blood pressure among many other things). When we sleep we slip out of the conscious world which for most causes the most stress on our body and mind. During sleep your brain is able to order the new information you have received that day and allows you to learn it. This is why it is crucial for kids and even adults who are taking in alot of information NEED good sleep.
3. Cortisol drops. At night, when the sun goes down, your cortisol should also go down. In a normal circumstance the lack of cortisol signals the brain to start its shut down. As we get into be your levels drop even more hitting their lowest around 2-3 am and then start to rebound as the sun comes up and we start to wake up. Historically this makes sense right? Sleep when its dark, wake when its light.
4. Inflammation goes away. Well, not that easily but sleep, as mentioned in number one, helps your body heal so those of you that feel inflammed may feel less inflammed after a good nights sleep.
5. Your hormones have a chance to regulate and stabilize and can actually help to increase the levels of some good hormones.
So for those of you training hard in the gym, above are the reasons why YOU need more and better sleep. Here is how:
Sleep is what should happen in your bed between the hours of 10pm and 6-7am. Sleep should be relaxing and complete. Waking during the night is ok, so long as you are able to get back to sleep immediately. If you are waking multiple times a night then you may have some other factors that need to be addressed. If you are unable to get back to sleep after waking in the night then you may take a look at some of the stress relieving tactics work working in from the post yesterday.
Sleeps relationship to stress is very close. Ever notice that when you are super stressed sleep is elusive? This just gives you even more reason to manage stress. You may also notice that when you miss out on needed sleep you feel groggy, slow and un coordinated in daily activities. You may also feel disconnected from reality and find it challenging to link coherent thoughts or focus for too long.
To combat the lack of sleep make an extra effort to get to bed ontime (10am). For those that are night owls that means take 30 minutes per week off the current time you are going to sleep (for example if you currently go to bed at midnight, this week go to bed at 1130.). Continue to take 30 minutes off per week until you are at or below 10pm. Hours spent sleeping before midnight are the most valuable so strive to get to bed earlier rather than later no matter what you have going on the next day.
Create a bedtime ritual that tells your body its time to start shutting down. Like the sun going down and the moon coming up you can create a ritual. For example my ritual includes turning off the TV, taking the dogs out to potty (not kill the chickens), sometimes take a shower, take fish oil and eat a handful of nuts, brush my teeth, get in bed and read for 5-15 minutes in low light. Its important to note all of this is done under low light or no light specifically no overhead light which mimics the sun which is no bueno at night. This routine usually starts at 930-945 so i am in bed asleep by 10-1015.
It is also helpful to create a sacred or relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom. Its good to have low light that is not overhead and some time of white noise. A cool temperature helps the body down regulate and shift into a sleeping mood. Dark shades help keep out the ambient light that is not natural (street lights, headlights…). No TV’s allowed in the bedroom. The bedroom is for 2 things, sleeping and… You get it.
Lastly, Go to Bed!
Snatch Technique work
Back Squat 5×5