Sleep Is Killing Your Gains!
What is one of the most underrated things we do in all athletic performance...?
Most people go to sleep, and hope for the best. They don't think if they're sleeping correctly, incorrectly, or doing everything possible to maximize their quality of sleep and gains overall.
If you can't sleep properly, how do you expect to grow properly?!
A large myth that many ⭕'s seem to believe relates to bathroom visits during the night. Lots of you believe sleep is ruined because of a quick trip to the bathroom. It's NORMAL! If you wake up to use the bathroom two or more times in a night, you have something called Nocturia. This doesn't mean there is a severe issue, since causes can be as simple as a high fluid intake (Coach Greg goes to the bathroom 2-4 times a night!). However, as I always say, if you believe you're suffering from something severe, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.
If you're one of the lucky snoozers that hits the pillow and doesn't wake up until morning, count yourself lucky because ONE THIRD of the population suffers from some form of Insomnia.
Now, just because you wake up throughout the night does NOT mean that you suffer from Insomnia. Everyone has a circadian rhythm, which are the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle.
This leads to some periods of extreme fatigue, and some periods of extreme alertness. If you ever wonder why you can wake up at 4am and be "wide awake", only to sleep 3 more hours and be groggy at 7am, it all depends on what part of your sleep cycle you wake up in! This is why going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday can help with a consistent circadian rhythm.
Most people need 7-9 hours of quality sleep to function at an optimum level. One way to help with this (and it may sound silly), is going to sleep when it's dark. It's very simple, the darkness causes your body to release melatonin which helps you sleep. Then, when it gets light out, your melatonin levels go down, and it allows you to wake up and feel refreshed.
Sometimes this is difficult as someone could have shift work, or other reasons why they can't have a consistent sleep schedule. A lot of these people supplement with melatonin, but really overdo it taking up to 10mg a day. In reality, 3mg should be more than enough. Another great option is Delta Sleep, the new and improved sleep aid from HTLT!
Some of the Main Reasons ⭕'s Struggle to Sleep (& How to Help!)
1. You're in pain.
If you have a broken bone, bruise, or other reason you're in pain, it'll be tough to alleviate that pain. However, sleep in whatever position minimizes it the most. You may also need medication, so be sure to consult your doctor for anything major.
2. You suffer from Sleep Apnea.
Are you having breathing problems/choking throughout the night? GO SEE YOUR DOCTOR! Something like a CPAP machine may be able to help you. There may be equipment that could help improve your sleep greatly.
3. You're waking up lots of times to pee.
Before thinking it's something super serious, try DRINKING LESS WATER! You can also limit your caffeine, especially in the hours close to bed. This means, if you're going for a late-night training session, maybe skip the pre-workout, or train further from bedtime!
Also, something to note is, if a ⭕ is on a low-carb diet, full Keto, or in a calorie deficit in general, the body doesn't retain as much water. Lower glycogen levels lead to less water retention causing you to PEE MORE.
4. It's too noisy.
Maybe you have 11 animals in the house like Coach Greg. Sometimes all 11 may have a singing contest at 4am. Uh oh, what should you do now? Try earbuds! Standard earbuds can help block out noise, while some more advanced models have white noise generators and better noise cancellation (however, they still do let in noise for important warnings such as fire alarms. You can't sleep through EVERYTHING or that'd be dangerous!).
5. It's too bright.
Oh no, did you stay out until 6am clubbin' like Coach Greg, and now you're rolling into bed while it's bright as day out? As mentioned before, the brightness will lower levels of melatonin in the body, making it tougher to have high quality sleep. Try and make the room as dark as possible! Close your curtains, and/or try sleeping with an eye mask to block out additional light. There are even special curtains called blackout curtains that work great when sealed properly. They can help a room feel light nighttime, even at noon!
6. Medications, drugs & alcohol.
All of these can potentially make it harder to get to sleep, or stay asleep. Sometimes even things like marijuana, that can help you fall asleep, but can lead to lower quality sleep. However, in some cases it's a lot better to be asleep, than tossing and turning with something such as Insomnia. So, if that seems like a remedy for you, please speak with your doctor.
7. Anxiety & stress.
Sometimes people lie awake, or get woken up due to stressful situations from their personal life. Panic mode can set in, and you can easily find yourself lying awake while your stomach turns. If you aren't able to alleviate the stressful situation altogether, try to minimize it. With certain supplements like HTLT's Delta Sleep, many ingredients work to calm you down and relax your body so that ⭕'s can have high quality sleep, even on stressful nights.
8. Caffeine & other stimulants.
If you're someone who has coffee after coffee, has pre-workout close to bedtime, and/or uses recreational stimulants often, OF COURSE IT'S HARDER TO SLEEP. Your body will always be ready to "go-go-go" and you're never going to rest and sleep. Be very careful about what medications you do or do not take.
9. The temperature.
Waking up in the middle of the night sweating or freezing? There are some simple ways that can help. If you're too hot, try sleeping with a fan next to your bed. This can cool you down and help sleep MUCH better. The same goes for the opposite. If you're freezing cold, try using a heater!
Studies have shown that temperatures between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit make it easier to sleep. By using a fan or a heater, you can help reach this optimal range for a great night's rest.
10. Using your cellphone too much.
Once you get into bed, PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN! The blue light from your phone screen blocks melatonin which directly contributes to worse sleep. By avoiding/minimizing cell phone/other screen usage in bed, melatonin levels will increase giving you a much better sleep overall.
Final Coach Greg Tip:
If you wake up and really can't get back to sleep. Give yourself 20-30 minutes, and if that hasn't worked, GET UP AND DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE! There's no point lying in bed for 3 hours wasting time. Just go to bed a little earlier the next night.
Overall, you can't always have the PERFECT night of sleep every time. But, if you're able to slowly improve your sleep overall, you can't go wrong with that!
If you’re interested in seeing Coach Greg speak a little more in depth about these topics, check out this video!