10 KNOWLEDGE BOMBS THAT’LL HELP YOU CRUSH IT IN BED – HELP YOU SLEEP THAT IS!
Finally, fitness folks are catching on to how important recovery and sleep are; and it’s about time! Sleep in particular is often something we often don’t talk about, yet something we ALL do every day.
A few years back it was almost ‘fashionable’ to be able to tell someone that you only needed a few hours of sleep each night, and that in particular success in life and in business was because a person only functioned on a few hours of sleep each night. “I’ll sleep when I die” was often misquoted quite a bit. However, besides the few genetic freaks whose body can actually recover and regenerate on just a few hours of sleep per night, the majority of us need to ensure we get the best quality nights’ sleep we can, at least 6-hour’s worth.
There are previous articles on the FM website, like this one HERE that provide some useful information on how to get a good nights’ sleep. But there’s new information and studies coming out all of the time. Here on the FM website we also like to be a little unconventional, so here are 10 quick-fire knowledge bombs that’ll completely change your sleeping routine, and ensure you get at least 6 hours of quality shut-eye.
- 1. Your room needs to be PITCH black, a cave! Even the smallest glimmer of light in to your bedroom can affect your sleep pattern. Both natural light from your window, and unnatural light from, say, your phone screen flashing notifications throughout the night, or the small LED light on your TV can have an effect. Studies using lasers have proven this, as even the small glimmer of a tiny laser can be picked up by your body during sleep and affect your sleep state.
- 2. Keep your room silent. Close your door, wear ear plugs, make sure your phone is on silent (not even vibrate), anything to stop sound disturbances.
- 3. Eat carbs at night to boost your serotonin levels. Just a 30g serving of low GI carbs a few hours before bed will do the trick. Adjust your calorie and macronutrient intake throughout the day to compensate for the extra few carbs in the evening, but provided this is done correctly you won’t need to worry about gaining fat, and it may even help you get leaner. Carbs in the evening increase the bodies’ production of serotonin and melatonin, and allow you to get an
awesome nights’ sleep, waking up refreshed in the morning.
- 4. Make your room ‘slightly’ cold. Not freezing cold but just enough that you’d need to sleep with a duvet on you. Room temperature in your bedroom should be set in the 60’s (Fahrenheit) as a rough estimate. If you don’t believe me that you’ll sleep better this way then just give it a try and see for yourself.
- 5. Don’t go to bed whilst your hot. It screws up your serotonin levels and your sleep patterns. Better to be too cold than too hot when it comes to creating the optimal environment for sleep.
- 6. Try having a hot bath before bed, then getting out to dry off and cool down for a while before hitting the hay. A slightly hotter bath than normal but comfortable – don’t be stupid and burn yourself! When you get out the hot bath your body cools rapidly until it reaches an optimal temperature. If you’re ever struggling to get to sleep this technique can make a radical difference.
- 7. Try doing 10-15 mins of soft tissue work on yourself before bed (self massage, foam rolling, massage stick, massage with the partner), it kicks in a parasympathetic state and encourages relaxation.
- 8. Give yourself a little ‘treat’ before bed… A hormone called Prolactin is released as a result of orgasm, acting as a big relaxant. Probably a good excuse for why guys have a bad reputation for falling asleep after sex!! Blame it on the hormones!
- 9. Meditation and Deep Breathing can help take your focus away from things that are going around in your head, stopping you from falling asleep, and instead, for example shift your focus on to your breathing or how your body feels in that moment. Try 10-30 minutes of mindfulness meditation in the evening or before bed to help you switch off.
- 10. Make sure you’ve got the right bed and pillows for YOU. As a generality most people are extension sensitive – their backs aren’t good in extension. Sleeping in a bed that’s too hard for you can pop you in to more of an extended position. Most people need something that cradles them in to a natural spine position or even slightly flexed. If fact some people laughingly could even do with sleeping in a hammock, since you get a little more flexion. Here’s a good little test: If you lay on your back and you find yourself crossing your feet when laying on the mattress, the mattress is too hard. You’re trying to take yourself out of excessive extension without knowing it. You should be able to sleep on the floor and not be crippled. But most of us can’t do that.
I personally use and recommend an EVE MATTRESS, simply because the mix of contouring memory foam and the supportive base layer puts my spine in a really good position. It also has a breathable fabric that’s really good at helping regulate body temperature. I always feel well recovered in the morning and refreshed after a good nights’ sleep, and even though my job involves a lot of exercise demos every day on top of my own workouts; my back has never felt better.In fact you can get £40 off any Eve Mattress HERE until 31st Dec 2016 by using code: MAVERICKEVE40
Also known as “The Fitness Maverick”, Gareth specializes in smarter training techniques to get you strong and looking great naked year round!