| Article Summary:
As an athlete you know how important rest is. But in today's society so many of us skimp on sleep so we can get more done during the day or we just stay up too late watching reality TV or ESPN highlights. And then the next day we realize that once again, we are reaching for caffeine and sugar to get us through the day.
What Are Sleep Problems?
Sleep problems are common - approximately 10-20% of Americans have problems falling asleep and 48% report occasional difficulty sleeping.
Sleep problems affect your entire life by increasing daytime drowsiness, decreasing your ability to concentrate and focus, decreasing your reaction time (which could be very dangerous if you are driving or operating heavy machinery), sapping your energy, making you irritable and fatigued and possibly even disoriented.
To add insult to injury, sleep problems may also increase your appetite and disrupt how your body uses glucose. The less people sleep the more likely they are to crave food high in calories and carbohydrates and they are at an increased risk for overweight or obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The most common types of sleep problems are:
- Insomnia: Having a difficult time falling asleep.
- Sleep Apnea: Breathing problems that interrupt a person's sleep.
- Narcolepsy: Falling asleep during the day on the spur of the moment.
- Restless Leg Syndrome: An irresistible urge to move the legs.
There are many things that contribute to sleep problems including overweight/obesity, a decrease in growth hormone and melatonin that occurs with aging, stress, night shift work and excess caffeine or alcohol consumption late at night.
Signs of a sleep disorder include:
- Consistently taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep.
- Consistently waking up several times during the night and having trouble falling back asleep.
- Waking up too early in the morning.
- Frequent daytime sleepiness or often needing a nap during the day.
- Snorting, snoring, gasping or making choking sounds while sleeping.
- Your arms or legs jerk often while sleeping.
- You have creeping, tingling or crawling feelings on your legs or arms when you are trying to fall asleep.
How Bodybuilding Can Help You Sleep Better
- Bodybuilders Exercise. Exercising can help you sleep better. And, as a bodybuilder you know how important rest is for repair. Therefore you don't stay up late at night watching mindless TV.
- Bodybuilders Are On Schedule. As a bodybuilder you have your workouts planned into your day and you are in a routine. Developing a sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time everyday, is important for your sleep hygiene.
- Bodybuilding Decreases Stress. When you have something on your mind or the day's events bothered you, it is hard to sleep. Working out redirects your mind away from a stressful situation so you walk out of the gym more relaxed and better able to face the day.
Click Image To Enlarge.
When You Have Something On Your Mind Or The
Day's Events Bothered You, It Is Hard To Sleep.
- Bodybuilders Are Healthy. Overall health plays a very important part in good sleep. Unfortunately, like many things in life poor sleep can result in a cyclical pattern. You lose sleep, eat too much during the day to stay awake, gain weight, which makes your sleep patterns worse and then gain more weight because you are too tired to workout.
Luckily as a bodybuilder you have the health thing down pat. You are either at a healthy weight or working toward a healthy weight and you avoid the things that interrupt good sleep - like consuming alcohol or large meals late at night. And, you avoid nicotine and watch your caffeine consumption.
Additional Tips To Help You Sleep Better
- Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep.
- Get a little sun exposure (this will do wonders for your mood too).
- Take a hot bath before bed.
- Relax before bed (unwind from your day).
- Don't take naps after 3pm.
- Consider valerian + hops or lemon balm as a natural remedy.
- Read information on the National Center for Sleep Disorders Research.
- See a doctor if you continue to have trouble sleeping.
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About The Author:
Marie Spano is a leading authority on translating the latest nutrition and exercise science research into real life applications. Ms. Spano has also helped Olympic athletes, NFL-bound athletes and Fortune 500 executives enhance their health and performance through sound nutrition practices. She is a regular contributor to bodybuilding.com. For more information see:
- Sleep Disorders. Medline Plus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/sleepdisorders.html