Build a Better Body Through Wise Use of Your Bedroom
Ask any athlete or trainer about improving your body or performance in the gym and you’ll very likely get a wide variety of answers. You’ll hear dietary suggestions, which types of exercise to perform, set and rep schemes and scheduling patterns – all of which may be viable and valuable answers to your question. What you’ll rarely hear though, involves something that may have every bit as big of an impact on your training results as any of those pieces of the puzzle and it’s not even something that you’ll do at the gym.
How much sleep you get can have an enormous impact on your training results, but it’s something that often gets ignored by new and seasoned athletes alike. Truth be told, if you are training as intensely as possible to reach your fitness goals but ignoring your body’s need for sleep on a regular basis you’ll likely have a very difficult time making any headway and you’ll increase your chances of injury as you try.
Sleep is essential to your recovery following a day with an intense training session. It’s during sleep that the muscle that was damaged during your workout gets repaired and grows and when depleted energy stores are replaced so that your body can function properly moving forward.
Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on your body’s hormone production and your metabolic function. This means that, despite your very best training efforts, that you’ll have an even more difficult time building lean muscle and burning excess body fat if you don’t consistently get the right amount of sleep to allow your body to recover properly.
The recommended daily amount of sleep for maintaining good health is about eight hours. Though that may not be a possibility for everyone on every single night of the week, you’ve got to make the effort if you want to see the best possible results from your training. Hitting the snooze button three times for an extra thirty minutes of tossing and turning probably isn’t enough to make a real difference either. Just being in bed for 7-8 hours doesn’t cut it for helping to recover from intense activity; you’ve actually got to be sleeping for those 7-8 hours.
It will probably help your sleep efforts substantially if your reserve your bedroom for only two things – sex and sleep. Do your best to eliminate all other distractions once you’re inside the bedroom – no books or magazines, no late night TV, no food and no video games. If you’ve got a job or school to go to, you’ve got a time that you need to be up and moving by – playing just one more game or reading just one more chapter won’t help you get more sleep and it’s likely that those distractions will probably get you too stimulated to fall right asleep once the lights have been turned off.
It also helps to take a bit of time to wind down before you turn in. If at all possible, don’t schedule your workout time to end just when bed time should be beginning or eat a full meal thirty minutes prior to turning in for the night. It will be difficult, if not impossible to get a solid amount of restful sleep if your body is full of post workout adrenaline or if your stomach is full of a pound of pasta or burritos.
The type and amount of working out you do is crucial to seeing the results that you want, but if you ignore the important lifestyle factors that go hand in hand with your training you’ll have an exceedingly difficult time trying to reach your goals.
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About Jeff Wilson Jeff Wilson has been involved in some form of sports and athletic training for more than two decades: as an athlete, a trainer and a writer.