Sleeping is the most important part of training. During sleep your body rebuilds. Without enough sleep, you will not be growing as much as you would with enough sleep.
They say 8 hours of sleep is a minimum, I like to up the standard to 9 hours, that extra hour makes up for the time during sleep where you wake up. If you are like me, and drink a gallon of water a day, you most likely wake up in the middle of the night and head for the bathroom.
Sleep regulation should be taken very seriously. It is a must to keep on a schedule regarding sleep. Your body has a special "clock" that tells it when it needs to go to sleep and when it is time to wake up.
Internally, this means when we should release the chemicals for sleep (melatonin, I think), and when to release the chemicals to wake your a$$ up (the chemical which tells your body to stop releasing melatonin). This is the reason why sometimes you feel horribly tried in class during your first period (you have melatonin still active in you at the time).
Here are some of the tips I have gathered from news reports, the Internet, personal experiences, and so on.
- Sleep only when you are sleepy; don't bother going to be if you are wide awake. Going to bed when you are sleepy will shorten the time you are awake in bed.
- If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something boring until you feel sleepy. Such things would include: reading boring material (instruction booklet, etc.), work on homework (math or science), and so on (basically anything you think is boring).
Sit quietly in the dark. Don't expose yourself to bright light while you are up. The bright light gives cues to your brain that it is not time to go to bed.
- Don't take naps. Not taking naps will make sure that when you go to bed, you will be tired and fall asleep quicker. If for some odd reason you just have to take a nap during the day, make sure it is only for an hour, and not past 3 p.m.
- Get up and go to bed the same time every day. Even on weekends! When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel better. This is the most important of all things you should know about sleeping.
I read on MSN somewhere that your body has a certain clock of its own, the clock controls when to release melatonin (which makes you sleepy), and when to stop releasing it. This is why sometimes you feel very sleepy in class on your first period.
- Refrain from exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime. Regular exercise is recommended to help you sleep well, but the timing of the workout is important. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will not interfere with sleep.
For those of you who are on their cutting stage, make sure you do you cardio and weight training 8 hours apart. So do your cardio in the morning, and do the weight training after school.
- Develop sleep rituals. It is important to give your body cues that it is time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, read something soothing for 15 minutes, have a cup of caffeine-free tea, do relaxation exercises.
- Only use your bed for sleeping. Try to resist using your bed to do other things like homework, reading, sitting, and so on. So, when you go to bed your body knows it is time to sleep. (Sex is the only exception!)
- Stay away from caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol at least 4-6 hours before bed. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, cigarettes, chocolate and some prescription and non-prescription drugs contain caffeine.
Alcohol may seem to help you sleep in the beginning as it slows brain activity, but you will end end up having fragmented sleep. You should not be smoking or drinking anyway, it's bad for your body.
- Have a light snack before bed. If your stomach is too empty, that can interfere with sleep. However, if you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, that can interfere as well. Dairy products and turkey contain tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep inducer. Tryptophan is probably why a warm glass of milk is sometimes recommended.
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- Take a long hot bath. A hot bath will raise your body temperature, but it is the drop in body temperature that may leave you feeling sleepy.
- Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable. A hot room can be uncomfortable. A cooler room along with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. If light in the early morning bothers you, get a blackout shade or wear a slumber mask.
If noise bothers you, wear earplugs, or close the door. Use sunlight to set your biological clock. Turn off the light in your room and sleep in the dark (for those of you who are still afraid of the dark).
- Too much sleep is a bad thing. Try to set your maximum time of sleep at around 10 hours.
- Too little sleep is a bad thing, too. Try to set your minimum time of sleep at around 7 hours.
These tips will ensure that you get the required hours of sleep needed for weightlifting. There are also many supplements out on the market that help induce sleep, such as Melatonin, ZMA (from what I hear), and some others that I cannot think of as of this moment.
Hope this helps a little, and if anyone has any questions, just send me an e-mail!