TOPIC: How Can Someone Improve Their Sleep For Maximum Results?
Nutrition, diet, and SLEEP are known to be the 3 most important principles in bodybuilding. Sleeping is part of the bodybuilding lifestyle.
A good night's sleep can provide one with higher energy, better thinking, and overall good health.
What can be done to use sleep to its maximum ability?
What are some of the effects sleep has on bodybuilding and fitness?
How many hours of sleep should people of different age groups get per day?
What supplements can be used to help enhance a better and deeper sleep?
Bonus Question: How effective are naps? Will taking a nap after a workout of during any certain time increase results?
Show off your knowledge to the world!
- 1. N10CT
- 1. sword chucks (tie)
- 2. TheMind
- 2. chewwy (tie)
- 2. bigcalves (tie)
- 3. DSM18
- 1st place - 75 in store credit.
- 2nd place - 50 in store credit.
- 3rd place - 25 in store credit.
To use your credit, e-mail Will @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
1st Place - N10CT
Sleep - How To Maximize Your Results In The Gym.
In bodybuilding like all forms of athletic training there are three key elements that account for your success. These elements are training, nutrition and recovery. Being deficient in any of these elements will not only limit but even hinder ones progress.
While there are many different factors and aspects of recovery (Cryotherapy, EMS, massage etc.), sleep is by far and away the most important. Without adequate sleep and the right kind of sleep your gains will be minimal.
| What Is Sleep?
From a physiological standpoint a person is considered asleep when they are unconscious but can still be awakened by normal sensory stimuli (Martini 2001:496). Therefore you are not sleeping anytime you are conscious or if you are unconscious and unable to be woken (e.g. under general anesthesia).
Levels Of Sleep
There are two recognized levels of sleep each with different characteristics.
- The first of these stages is called deep sleep, slow wave sleep or non-REM sleep. During this level the entire body relaxes, cerebral cortex activity is minimized and heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and energy usage declines by about 30% (Martini, 2001: 496).
- The second level of sleep is known as rapid eye movement or REM sleep. This level is where dreaming occurs as well as changes in a person's blood pressure and breathing. Studies conducted with an electroencephalograph (EEG) have shown that activities within the brain are similar to those that occur while awake. Although this is the case people in the REM stage of sleep are less receptive to external stimuli.
| What Is An Electroencephalograph?
An instrument that measures electrical potentials on the scalp and generates a record of the electrical activity of the brain.
- These two levels of sleep alternate throughout the night. Deep sleep fills the initial hour and a half of sleep followed by REM sleep for much shorter periods (starting at 5 minutes) and alternates throughout the night.
Over an eight hour night around 2 hours is spent in the REM sleep (Martini, 2001). Although like most things this varies from individual to individual.
What Can Be Done To Use Sleep To Its Maximum Ability?
To get the maximum benefit from sleep you need both quantity and quality. You need to get it on a regular basis but also you need it to be deep to allow full recovery.
There are generally considered five key elements to getting the most out of sleep and making it the most effective it can be.
1. Establish A Sleeping Cycle
- This should be a gimme for most bodybuilders who would go to bed a rise at the same time everyday. Not only is this cycle vital for sleep and recovery it is vital for your diet. Sleeping haphazardly is not good for a person's progress.
2. Establish A Pre-Sleep Routine
- Try to devise a routine that you can go through each and every night to relax and help yourself fall asleep. Participating in stressful activities leading up to bed (such as bringing work home) can make it hard to get to sleep.
Avoid spending too much time in your bedroom before you want to go to sleep as well. By participating in other activities (watching TV etc) in your bedroom it may impair your ability to get to sleep as quickly as you might like.
3. Establish Darkness
- Light (or lack of it) is one of the key factors in sleep. Melatonin (which will be discussed later) production is inhibited by light. This means if light is present your body will not be producing melatonin and you won't be able to fall asleep.
4. Control The Temperature & Noise Levels
- Regarding temperature there is much debate about the perfect level for sleep. These levels average however somewhere around 17-19 degrees Celsius (63-66 degrees Fahrenheit).
Most people know anecdotally that it is much easier to sleep on a cold night than a hot one. High levels of humidity will also disrupt your ability to fall asleep. Noise levels obviously play a role, I mean try sleeping in a noisy environment and see how you do.
5. Bedtime Nutrition
- Nutrition at bedtime is as vital as any other time (except maybe post workout) for bodybuilders and athletes. It is vital to make sure adequate
- are available for
- . Ideally a slow absorbing
- source is best. Obviously the amount will be an individual thing but 20-50g should be enough.
Many supplement companies have produced night time or PM protein supplements. These should contain micellar casein protein or something similar. Bedtime is not whey time. This last meal should also contain some fats but probably be with a lot of carbs.
A solid alternative to a protein shake is cottage cheese which is slow digesting and has an excellent amino acid profile. Makers of cortisol controlling supplements, such as PS, also recommend taking at bedtime but they don't improve quality of sleep.
Just as important as what you do eat before bed is what you don't. It is very important to avoid methylxanthines before bed. This means no caffeine and no chocolate.
Also avoid high glycemic or high sugar foods and alcohol which has been shown to over stimulate the mind and increase the chances of keeping you awake (Balch et. al. 1997).
How Many Hours Of Sleep Should People Of Different Age Groups Get Per Day?
While there is a little variation in most recommendations regarding sleep the averages tend to be about 7-9 hours per night for adults and 8-10 for teens (since this will be the audience covered here that is all I will address).
Obviously a person can get by on much less sleep, many people might struggle to get 6 hours or even 2 on some rare/ special occasions. While it is possible to get by on less sleep, you will never be at your optimum in any endeavor without adequate sleep.
| For Example:
Working out after 8 hours of sleep vs. 5 hours of sleep will make a large difference.
- Being tired can also be dangerous. Studies have shown that driving and being tired can have the same effect as being drunk. Loss of concentration, control, decision making ability etc. Nobody would workout drunk so why would you want to workout with less than adequate sleep.
While these recommendations are for the general population it is often suggested that bodybuilders and athletes try to get an extra hour of sleep. I have always wondered why but as I will explain soon it makes a lot of sense.
What Are Some Of The Effects Sleep Has On Bodybuilding & Fitness?
In answering this question I feel it should have been reversed.
I'll get to that in a minute but now for the question at hand. There are three main effects that sleep has which are vital for athletes.
1. Central Nervous System Recovery
- Firstly, central nervous system recovery. There are only minor changes in the physiological systems during sleep and scientists are unaware of a physiological of biomechanical reason for sleep (Martini, 2001), suggesting the main reason is its effect on the CNS.
The CNS plays a large role in any athletes success, keeping it refreshed and working at its peak is vital to ensure maximum performance and limit the chance of overtraining and burnout. Sleep is the number one way for your CNS to recover.
| The Central Nervous System.
The human central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. These lie in the midline of the body and are protected by the skull and vertebrae respectively.
This collection of billions of neurons is arguably the most complex object known.
The central nervous system along with the peripheral nervous system comprise a primary division of controls that command all physical activities of a human.
Neurons of the central nervous system affect consciousness and mental activity while spinal extensions of central nervous system neuron pathways affect skeletal muscles and organs in the body.
2. Increase Of Protein Synthesis
- Secondly, during sleep protein synthesis increases. This is basically when you grow. Your body is at rest and can continue repairing the damage you did the previous day.
3. Release Of Growth Hormone
- Finally, the majority of
- is released. By now you should be well aware of growth hormones and roles played in muscle building and other bodily functions.
Growth hormone is usually produced while weight training and while sleeping, although sleep is when the most is released and most recovery takes place.
What Are Some Effects Bodybuilding & Fitness Has On Your Sleep?
This is probably the most important question I will answer here. To answer it I'd like to use an example scenario.
- Lets assume that all people have an eight hour sleep cycle (everyone varies but this is close to what most people need). A normal person (sedentary, non-weight trainer) will produce the most growth hormone over the first 4 hours of the sleep cycle and in the second 4 hour period only about 20% of what was produced in the first 4 hours will be produced.
- So in theory the majority of anabolic effects take place early in the sleep cycle and occasionally getting 6 hours and missing the final 2 hours of the cycle might not be that harmful. Well, in 2001 Nindl et. al. conducted a study with regard to growth hormone production and resistance training.
The findings were very interesting. In individuals who participated in resistance training the growth hormone production during sleep was almost reversed.
Although more growth hormone was still released during the first 4 hours than the second, the drop in the second four hours was much less, about 40-50% compared with 80%.
It also must be noted that total growth hormone was the same. This suggests that participation in resistance training leads to a more steady release of growth hormone over the eight hour period, rather than an early peak followed by drop off.
Therefore for a person who resistance trains, such as bodybuilders and fitness competitors, the final hours of sleep are still vital.
Limiting ones self to 6 hours and missing the final two hours of sleep would be a terrible option, especially as the study shows a sharp rise in growth hormone levels towards the end of the cycle.
Click To Enlarge.
During Resistance Training The Rate of Release Levels Out,
Making Sleep Far More Important.
What Supplements Can Be Used To Help Enhance A Better & Deeper Sleep?
Although it is best to get as much natural sleep as possible, that is not always the case. There are a wide variety of supplements (all available from the Bodybuilding.com store) which can assist in getting to sleep or getting a deeper sleep than usual. Literally there are arguments that almost everything you put into your body may help you sleep (vitamins etc.).
I will be focusing on the main supplements that are primarily used as a sleeping aide and more specifically give you a better or deeper sleep as the question asks.
| Also Note:
Protein powders, etc., are not included, as they do nothing to enhance a better deeper sleep. Granted they will help build muscle and prevent catabolism as discussed earlier but they have no place in this list.
In no particular order:
- consists of 30mg of Zinc monomethionine aspartate, 450mg of magnesium aspartate and 10.5mg of Vitamin B6. This product has been a bodybuilding staple for many years due its numerous benefits. Studies have shown the product to raise testosterone levels by up to 30% and increase strength 2.5 times faster than a placebo group.
While there has not been much scientific evidence regarding ZMA specifically and sleep, anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Almost all users report deeper sleep when using ZMA. That is one of the keys to its longevity. Every month at least one pure ZMA product is in Bodybuilding.com's top 50 sellers.
The inclusion of magnesium is thought to provide these sleep benefits. In 1998 a group of German scientists showed that 300mg of magnesium greatly improved the efficiency of sleep (Hornyak et. al. 1998). This product is truly one good thing that has come for BALCO LABS. For between $10-20 per month, depending on which brand you use, you simply cannot go wrong with ZMA.
- is a supplement purely used for sleep inducement purposes. Produced by the pineal gland, melatonin is a natural substance and is produced at night to regulate sleep cycles. It is thought however that some people do not necessarily produc enough melatonin by themselves, in particular as they age (hence teenagers can sleep all day while their grandparent have trouble sleeping at all).
This is why supplementation may help. Effective melatonin supplementation should begin with 1.5mg before bed and assess its effectiveness from there; however dosages can range from 0.5mg-3mg. There have been many hypotheses put forth regarding other effects of melatonin from preventing cancer to extending life.
While most of these are far from being validated some animal studies have shown that melatonin supplementation may retard neurodegenerative changes associated with brain aging (Lahiri et. al. 2004). Further studies are required however to confirm any of these potential benefits. It is important to note too that one can become dependant on melatonin and therefore it should be used sparingly or in situations of need, such as when suffering jet lag.
- Although milder than melatonin,
- supplementation is also a very popular sleeping aide. Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) is a herbal sleeping aide and is completely non-toxic. It is also without many of the side-effects harsher sleeping drugs and even some supplements may have (eg. extra drowsiness, inability to operate heavy machinery etc.).
Academic studies on Valerian root are numerous. Balderer and Borbely (1985) studied the effect of 450mg and 900mg doses of valerian with results producing reduced perceived sleep latency and wake time after sleep onset. Although these results occurred there was no evidence of changes in sleep stages and EEG spectra, suggesting Valerian root helps you get to sleep but doesn't necessarily affect the quality of the sleep.
Leatherwood et. al.s study in 1982 agrees on the reduced perceived sleep latency but participant felt the also received an increase in sleep quality, especially if the were poor or irregular sleepers before hand. One final note, there have been cases reported where, depending on a persons biochemistry, valerian has acted as a stimulant. If this is the case for you avoid using it as a sleeping aide.
- While there are many other supplements and herbs (Kava etc) promoted as sleeping aides they are mainly used as relaxants rather in enhancing and quality and deepness of sleep.
Bonus Question: How Effective Are Naps? Will Taking A Nap After A Workout Of During Any Certain Time Increase Results?
Naps have been popular with athletes and bodybuilders alike for a long time. It is not unheard of for a professional bodybuilder or athlete to have a short sleep or nap after their training session to help with recovery. The major problem with taking a nap, apart for the time restriction, is it may disrupt your sleep cycle.
As discussed earlier getting a full and effective nights sleep is vital for maximal performance in and out of the gym. Sleeping mid-afternoon may disrupt your ability to get to sleep later than night. Your body can adapt the nap into your sleep cycle (eg. after a while you should be able to get to sleep at night easily) but then you would have to be consistent and possibly nap everyday.
I am basically going to go out on a limb and say for the average bodybuilder naps are a waste of time. In addition to disruption to sleep patterns I feel there are no real benefits derived from naps. If you look at most athletes who nap they are usually elite athletes who train at least twice, usually three times per day (eg. professional swimmers, rugby players, sprinters etc).
These Folks Can Get Away With Napping.
This is because of the effect naps have on the CNS rather than muscle building etc. Strength coaches whose programs revolve around the CNS, such as Jay Schroeder, have their athletes nap after workouts for this very reason. Unless you are training several times per day, can fit it into your schedule, and are able to adjust your sleep patterns naps are not essential and could be possibly be ineffective and/or a hindrance.
It is clear that sleep is vital for all athletes (inparticular bodybuilders and fitness athletes). But it is also clear that both quality and quantity count. Resistance training individuals tend to be anabolic for a more sustained period during the night and therefore falling short on sleep will leave them short with results. With the right techniques, dietary habits and supplementation sleeping well can take your gains to a whole new level.
- Balch, J. and Phyllis Balch. 1997. A Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Avery, New York. P. 35-36.
- Balderer, G and A. Borbely. 1985. Effect of valerian on human sleep. Psychopharmacology. 87(4): 406-9.
- Hornyak, Magdolna., Ulrich Voderholzer, Fritz Hohagen, Mathias Berger, and Dieter Riemann. 1998. Magnesium Therapy for Periodic Leg Movements-related
- Insomnia and Restless Legs Syndrome: An Open Pilot Study. Sleep. 21 (5): 501-505
- Lahiri, D., D. Chen, Y. Ge, S. Bondy and E. Sharman. 2004. Dietary supplementation with melatonin reduces levels of amyloid beta-peptides in the murine cerebral cortex. Journal of pineal research. 36(4): 224-31.
- Leathwood, P., F. Chauffard, E. Heck and R. Munoz-Box. 1982. Aqueous Extract of Valerian Root Improves Sleep Quality in Man. Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behaviour, 17:65-71.
- Martini, F. 2001. Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.
- Nindl, Bradley C., Wesley C. Hymer, Daniel R. Deaver and William J. Kraemer. 2001. Growth hormone pulsatility profile characteristics following acute heavy resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology. 91: 163-172
1st Place - sword chucks (Tie)
Sleep - The Most Difficult Aspect Of Bodybuilding?
The lifestyle of a successful bodybuilder revolves around several different activities and themes that, when brought together, create an atmosphere that is ideal for developing the body to new levels!
These include intense workouts, strict diets at times where you combat constant hunger, huge bowls of oatmeal in the off-season, the bulking phase where you fight just to keep the food down, and long and mentally taxing cardio sessions. However, for some people, the difficulty of these things pales in comparison to the trouble that they have getting a good nights sleep.
Catching some Z's might be difficult for some, but it must be done. Sleep has many benefits for the bodybuilder. While it is obvious that a groggy bodybuilder cannot achieve full energy levels for workouts, sleep is also important for producing growth and maximizing recovery from intense workouts.
However, if you are not a bodybuilder, that doesn't excuse you from sleeping! A good nights sleep can be very relaxing and make you feel great the next morning. Sleep deprivation can lead to obesity and a high blood pressure as well!
Therefore, it is obvious that anybody who cares about their well being and health should sleep! But how? Problems with sleep are some of the most common problems that you see to this day.
To start, there are many easy things that can be done around bedtime to help the sleep and relaxation process. However, there are also some intricate bodily processes that must be addressed through supplementation and activity.
This article will discuss all aspects of sleep and its benefits. I will talk about how to sleep well, why you should sleep, and touch upon many aspects of sleep that you probably did not know about! Your questions about the mysterious sleepy-time will be answered, just read on!
You Can't Buy Back Those 8 Hours! Get The Most Out Of Each Night Of Sleep.
Anybody who has missed a night of sleep has thought of trying to turn back time and get back those 8 hours - they hope that they can get a better nights sleep! But you know that isn't possible.
If you fail to have an effective night of sleep, thats 8-10 hours wasted, in which you could have been having quality sleep! In the long run, each night of sleep matters. You have to make sure to take advantage of each night of sleep to maximize results!
Sleep Cycles Last About 100 minutes
- Studies have shown that sleep is broken up into cycles, in which the level of sleep becomes progressively deeper. In the last 10 or 20 minutes, REM sleep occurs, and this is the optimal sleep state!
To maximize your time for sleeping, make the number of minutes you sleep before the alarm goes off a multiple of 100!
For example, 500 minutes means 8 hours and 20 minutes.
Too many people hit the alarm right after 8 hours of sleep, though and come about 20 minutes short of reaching their final sleep stage in that sleep cycle.
Waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle can make it difficult to get up and make you feel groggy. That is why you should make the time you sleep somewhere around a multiple of 100 minutes! If you don't hit REM sleep in a sleep cycle then it means time was wasted!
Taping Your Late-Night TV Entertainment
- With all of the television shows out these days on late-night television, I don't blame you for wanting to stay up late and watch them. However, you will soon learn the importance of sleep!
If you want to get optimal results from each week, month, and year of training, you need to forget your television shows! In fact, I would advise against watching anything within two hours of bedtime - the light from the television limits melatonin release, which can keep you up late!
An alternative to missing your favorite television programs completely is simply using your VCR to tape them for later! You can then watch them when you get a chance in the day! Not only will you be able to watch them the next day, you will have them to watch whenever you would like.
Eating At Night
- It is 10 pm and you have a 7 am alarm going off for you to wake up. Your last meal was at 8:00 PM, and so are dead tired, so you go to your bed just to lie down. You know that you can't fall asleep though - you've got to eat that slow-absorbing protein to preserve muscle through the long night!
So you go to eat your 2 cups of milk and protein shake. After that, you suddenly have a new source of energy, and you just don't feel as sleepy as before.
Has this ever happened to you? Eating certain things before bed can actually wake you up! The best thing to do is just be careful not to eat anything with a high sugar content. That rules out milk if you have difficultly sleeping; the lactose has a very high glycemic index and is not ideal right before bed.
Another choice is a quality casein protein shake mixed in a little bit of milk. A great choice is VPX Micellean - this product boasts a large spectrum of amino acids and protein that lasts in the body for a whole seven hours! Not only that, but it is low in calories and easy to consume.
I would recommend about 50 grams of protein as a minimum for pre-bed consumption, because your body will need as much protein as you can get.
You won't be eating anything for the next 6 to 10 hours! Ideally, you would just mix 2 scoops of your casein protein up and drink it while you sit in your bed, then go right to sleep. You can alternatively have some cottage cheese - this has a much better protein to sugar ratio than milk.
Quality Sleep vs. Restless Sleep
I can guarantee that everyone reading this (and everyone writing this - me!) has experienced some nights of sleep where you wake up feeling completely rejuvenated. You get out of bed and feel great! You don't have trouble getting out of the bed in the morning and you have an elevated feeling of alertness.
Other days, though, the last thing you want to do is throw the covers off and crawl out of bed. You go to your fridge and pull out the protein shake to groggily sip down. How can there be so much variance in every morning?
This is definitely one of the human body's many wonders. Finding the answer doesn't have to be difficult though! An observant person will have ease mastering their sleep.
I find that there are just a few variables that effect the quality of my sleep.
- The first and foremost has to be my activity level of the day. If I had a moderate level of activity, I usually sleep great, and wake up with enthusiasm for the next day.
However, the day after an intense workout, such as leg day or back day, where you put a high demand on the body is when you wake up sore and groggy. This is just something us bodybuilders have to deal with... really.
- Another thing you can do is monitor the temperature. I tend to sleep best when it is a little cool in the room, and I can use my blankets. What I do is put a fan next to my bed to keep a flow of cool air going by.
However, since this is a problem in the morning if it is too cold to get out of bed, I usually turn the fan off when I wake up halfway through the night for bathroom reasons.
- Finally, I find that finding a good sleep position is key to getting a good nights rest. Try to make a conscious effort to remember what sleep position was most comfortable for you the night before and then try to end up in that sleep position again the next night.
Overall, what I am saying is paying attention to little details that might affect your sleep patterns is a very good idea. Try to find little tricks that help you sleep well! You will be surprised how much you can come up with.
How To Fall Asleep
The problem many people have with sleep isn't staying asleep, it is actually falling asleep. Many people, including myself, experience nights where they toss and turn before finally falling asleep. There are some things that can help you fall right to sleep and stop you from wasting time tossing and turning!
Reducing Stress & Tension
- The main reason people toss and turn is that they are stressed out from the day. There are a few ways to reduce stress before you go to sleep. You can take a hot bath, you can do things to bore yourself, and you can do things that will just help to clear the mind!
A hot bath is one way to reduce stress. It will raise the body's temperature up, thus relaxing the muscles. A hot bath makes anyone feel good and recovered!
The best time to take this hot bath if your goal is better sleep is an hour or two before bed. Not everyone has time to draw a bath every night though, so there are some other things that you can do.
Another way to reduce stress and relax yourself is to bore yourself! You can do many things to bore yourself. Watching television and playing sports are not examples of ways to bore yourself for most people.
Some good ways to bore yourself are just by reading a book or listening to slow, quiet music. Alternatively, you can continue reading this article if boredom is your goal!
There are a few other ways to clear the mind. One way is controlling your breathing. Focus on proper breathing and tak deep, slow breaths. This can be very therapeutic and if you are not too riled up, it can be enough to make you doze off right away.
Breathing slowly can trick your body into thinking that it is sleeping, so it will follow suit and shut down for the night! Another thing to do is think of simple things and don't let your mind move from a single thought. This does take work, though.
Another way to reduce stress before bed is through various supplementation plans. I will go into this later on in the article so stay tuned!
Regulating The Body For Natural Sleep - Setting A Bedtime!
- The best way to ensure that you can consistently fall asleep at night is to set a bedtime. It can take the body anywhere from 3 to 8 days to adjust to a bedtime- give it time. You will notice that you fall asleep right on time every night and wake up at the same time as well.
The thing with a bedtime is that if you want it to work, you must stick with it! Just missing one day of your sleep schedule can throw you off, and then you have to take another day to get dialed back into sleeping at the right times.
Everyone likes to party though, even bodybuilders - if you have to party a few times a week, it might be wise to just set your bedtime later, so the party nights will not be too much later than your regular nights!
I do this for nights that I have to work - I get home at 12, so I decided to make my bed-time 12 pm every night. When school starts again I will change this of course.
Control The Environment
- There are many subtleties that can have a big effect on sleep. You can't sleep if you're uncomfortable. You can't sleep in the light! And you can't sleep with the television talking in the next room! So how do we control the environment for sleeping? Find out!
- Comfort is key when sleeping. This category includes many things. One aspect of comfort that is very important to me is temperature.
If the temperature, or the humidity for that matter, is really up there, I am forced to toss and turn, and I can't fall right to sleep.
- Buying a quality mattress is also very important! Unfortunately, that item has not been added to the Bodybuilding.com store stock just yet.
I would recommend going out and blowing as much money as you can on a great mattress that you can fall right asleep in every night!
- Another cause for sleep problems is the light! They say the darker, the better when it comes to sleep. If turning off each light in your house is not an option, you should purchase sleeping goggles!
Just use some eye-shades to block out the light. Another thing that helps is purchasing some heavy curtains to keep the light out in the early hours!
- A constant sound environment is also important when it comes to getting sleep. It would be better to have a slow music playing than sudden, inconsistent sounds in the background.
For some people, there can't be a sound in the air. I suggest closing your door, turning everything off in your room and asking everyone else in the house to quiet down the volume on their electronics and try not to be loud around your room.
Tell them what hard work sleeping is - they should understand!
Non-Obvious Reasons To Why You Should Sleep!
Everyone likes to sleep. However, I believe that devoting a section of this article to describing some extra reasons to get adequate sleep might motivate you enough to keep you in bed instead of staying up late! Missing sleep can lead to many degenerative health problems, and it can cause you to miss out on possible growth!
Specific Health Reasons That Might Surprise You!
- Many people think that the effects of missing sleep are just what they seem to be, a little tiredness and a little crankiness. However, in the long run, missed sleep can cause much more damage than you think! If you don't sleep enough, you could be causing problems to grow in your body which may include:
- Decreased growth hormone
- Blood pressure issues
- Low insulin sensitivity
Decreased Growth Hormone
- Decreased growth hormone might sound like it is just an issue for us bodybuilders, but growth hormone works for people that don't body build as well! The lack of growth hormone can lead to a plethora of body-related problems, one of which is obesity! On a smaller scale, your missed sleep could be causing excessive fat gain - either way, nobody wants that!
- Missing sleep can also cause a steady rise in blood pressure. Without a recuperative sleep cycle to bring the blood pressure down slightly, the blood pressure just continues to rise!
Low Insulin Sensitivity
- Studies have also proven that a lack of sleep can decrease the body's insulin sensitivity, and a lack of sleep is usually correlated with various diseases.
Why Sleep Time Means Growth Time!
- I mentioned above that missing sleep can lead to decreased growth hormone. In fact, compared to someone who sleeps, somebody who doesn't sleep is missing 75% of their natural growth hormone that could be produced!
This is because 3/4 of your body's growth hormone is supplied when sleeping. People getting between 8 and 10 hours of sleep per night, consistently, are truly growing to their full potential.
Try to do your best to get a lot of quality sleep, but don't stress if you absolutely can not no matter how hard you try. Know that you are doing your best!
An Obvious Reason To Sleep For Bodybuilders
Although there are a few often overlooked reasons to sleep enough, the main reason to sleep is still its effects on speeding up recovery from heavy training sessions. You won't grow if you don't sleep! Even Arnold, who was known for his extremely high volume training sessions, knew the importance of rest.
|"Rest and recuperation are very important because, although you stimulate growth by training, it is during the subsequent period of recuperation that actual growth and adaptation take place."|
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Having talked to many avid bodybuilders and weight lifters, I know that many different numbers come up when talking about sleep. The most common ones are 6, 8 and 10.
You also hear the occasional 2 or 4, but that is usually when someone is giving excuses as to why they could not train hard the next day - that doesn't pertain to us!
So how come there is so much variance out there? What is the ideal amount of sleep? Really, it is different for everyone, and there is not a set number of hours of sleep necessary for each person- just think about it, who do you think needs more sleep- a 9-5 construction worker, or a 9-5 office clerk? Below, I will go into the suggested sleep times for various people.
- It is a common mistake to believe that as you age, you need less sleep. This may apply to the years of adolescence for some, but as you move on through adulthood, the ideal amount of sleep does not change much from night to night. As an adult, you should shoot for 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for ideal health!
- Science has shown that a sedentary teenager actually requires more sleep than even a hard-working adult! The traditional 6 or 8 hours of sleep should not be recommended for teens, according to sleep experts - even 8 hours is not adequate! Most teens should shoot for 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night instead of 6 or 8.
As a matter of fact, I always wondered why I felt worn out every day even with 8 hours of sleep a while back. Learning that my body requires more rest than that came as a shock to me, but at the same time explained a lot of things!
I believe that all teen bodybuilders should sleep for at least 10 hours a night now, after seeing what a difference an extra 2 hours of sleep each night made for me.
Listen To Your Body!
When it comes to sleep, everyone is a little bit different. For example, if I had listened to my body instead of following the traditional 8 hour of sleep rule, I could have greatly sped up my results and felt a lot better each day.
What you should do is see how you feel on a certain amount of sleep each night. If you are a little tired each day and need an alarm clock to get up, it is safe to guess that you need more sleep! Add another 1 or 2 hours and see how you feel!
Taking Control Of Sleep Through Smart Supplementation.
While sleep-related supplement commercials make up a good percent of the commercials you will usually see on television, many people are turned off by these products.
It is a common thought that they are unhealthy and it is better to have natural sleep. While this thought does have some merit, you tell me what is better - sleeping 2 hours of natural sleep per night, or sleeping a full 8-10 hours of sleep with a little help?
Over-the-counter sleeping pills can sometimes hurt more than help, giving a hung-over feeling, but smart supplementation can greatly benefit you, while making negative effects a non-issue.
For those of you in drastic situations where you can't afford to miss 2 or 3 hours of sleep in a night, such as a high student juggling athletics and school work, taking some simple supplements can greatly benefit you in the bed-time department, without giving any worries about adverse effects.
Melatonin - Your Body's Sleep Regulator!
- Just by learning what melatonin is, means you are already becoming a sleep master! This powerful substance is the key to sleep in the body. It regulates the body's sleep and wake cycles. Low melatonin means bad sleep.
Have you ever wondered why we sleep at night instead of in the daytime? Melatonin is really an amazing thing - it just happens to be stimulated by the dark! The light has a negative effect on melatonin levels. This, of course, isn't a bad thing, because if it was, we would all be randomly falling asleep at any time through a 24 hour period for our 8 hours of sleep.
Melatonin is a great choice for a supplement for anyone. It is extremely effective even in very low doses. Most supplements sell melatonin in amounts ranging from 1 milligram to 3 milligrams, but even the lower dosing is overkill!
Luckily, melatonin is one of the least toxic substances that you can take (like vitamin C!). There have been noticeable results with doses as low as .1 mg per day! You will probably do fine with .5 mg per night. Ideally, you would take this supplement 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
So how do we get such low doses if companies sell a minimum dose of 1 mg? Well, I recommend purchasing a pill grinder, and splitting up the serving.
If you can get the caps with the powder inside, just pop them open and have a portion of that dose and put the other portion back in the container.
Another more crude way to do this is get melatonin in powder, or a melatonin liquid like Natrols.
You can just estimate. I would not always recommend this since it is very inaccurate. I recommend Country Life Melatonin, because of the small dosing that it comes in, so there is no reason to have more than what is necessary.
5-HTP - Overcome Sleep Problems!
- is a sleep-related product that seems to be a bit underrated. It has only been recently introduced (relatively speaking) to the over-the-counter market in the United States. 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP is unique in that it is a form of the amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid aids sleep in the body and it is actually the same substance that makes turkey give you that tired feeling!
In a way, 5-HTP is like an advanced form of tryptophan, because it is derived from a safer source. Because of this, it is a useful supplement in aiding sleep, while it will not cause negative side-effects.
One thing to keep in mind is that, as with any supplement, you should start with the minimum dose or even less, and work your way up to consuming more than that.
When taking 5-HTP, try to consume 50mg three times per day to start off with. You can build up this amount to 100mg but keep frequency the same if you feel that 50mg three times a day is not cutting it!
ZMA - Improve Anabolism & Sleep Better!
- ZMA, or Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, is a combination of a few simple vitamins. Mixingv vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc in certain amounts has been shown to have potent effects on natural hormone levels in the body.
This is a very popular supplement, even though its beneficial effects on sleep are often overlooked. ZMA is correlated with increases in quality of sleep and increases in muscle growth!
You can make your own ZMA with a 11:450:30 ratio of mg of B6, magnesium, and zinc. There are two ways to do this. One way is purchasing a food scale accurate to more than 4 sig figs and weighing out your own ZMA in these ratios, every day!
Alternatively, you can purchase pre-made ZMA- it might save you a bit of trouble. Primaforce ZMA is nice and cheap, and comes from a trust-worthy company.
Kava Kava - To Help You Relax!
- This relaxation supplement is part of the pepper family! Many studies have proven that Kava reduces muscle tension and stress. It can give a very elevated state of relaxation and calmness, which can be a big help for people who can not sleep due to stress and edginess.
This supplement is usually utilized during the daytime to enhance focus and loosen up your personality, and it is not at all addicting. It can also benefit sleep.
The ideal dosage of Kava is somewhere around 200mg per day. One container of Kava Kava Extract can last you two to three months for about 20 dollars. You can get Now Kava Kava Extract, which comes in 250mg capsules. You will get a 120-day supply for under 20 dollars!
Chamomile - For Tea Drinkers Out There!
- Chamomile is an herb that has been popular for a very long time. It has a very wide range of health benefits. You will definitely notice the relaxing effects of one cup of chamomile tea 15 to 30 minutes before bed.
Valerian - A Time-Tested Supplement!
- Valerian is one of the oldest supplements out there, and has been around for over 1000 years. Like other sleep supplements and herbs, it elevates your state of relaxation a noticeable amount. This supplement is effective at a very low cost!
With NOW Valerian, you take 250mg per day, separated into two 125-mg doses. The supplement costs under 10 dollars for a good amount of valerian. This stinky root can make a big difference when it comes to relaxation.
Ginseng - Another Cost-Effective Relaxation Product.
- Ginseng is similar to chamomile in that it has been used for a very long time and has a very broad range of benefits to the body's health. It is used for many things, but one effect is its effect on the central nervous system and stress release. This is why it can be beneficial for sleeping.
NOW Ginseng is a very cheap product. It is recommended that you take a serving or two every day. Since the ideal dose of ginseng is 1-2 grams per day, you might be better of with 3 capsules per day, as each one is 520 mg.
Still Scared of Sleep Supplements?
- Even after reading all of this, you might be a little bit skeptical about using supplements to help you sleep more. You have to realize that these supplements are totally different from anything you might see on television!
These products are not like those knock-out pills you see. They just provide natural relaxation which is just what you need.
Don't Sleep the Day Away!
So since getting an extra hour of sleep per day will help me a lot, I can let myself sleep in until 5 pm every day, right? The more sleep the better, right? Actually, that is not necessarily true.
There are a few reasons why you should not oversleep. In fact, there are almost as many reasons not to oversleep as there are reasons not to undersleep! I will list a few.
Leaving The Muscles Hungry
- Every time someone comments on me eating protein, I respond back with this saying that I have - yep, every 3 hours of my life. It's just a joke that I have because ever since I started bodybuilding, it was always about getting food in every 2-3 hours. The only exception is sleep-time!
The body should be allowed at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. However, right after my 8-10 hours, I always make sure to get in more food. This is because even though most casein proteins are the slowest absorbing, they only last up to 7 hours in the body, and I sleep for 8 or 9.
Therefore, reason 1 not to oversleep is that your body can't wait for you to finish sleeping for its nutrients.
Keep Your Workouts In Mind!
- There are many bodybuilders that have trouble working out if they do their workout before they have full woken up. When you oversleep, it actually takes a little longer to wake up, and get to your full lifting capacity.
Reason 2 not to oversleep is that oversleeping can leave you too groggy to work out at maximum intensity!
Controlling The Body's Clock
- As I said before, the body operates on its own internal clock. By setting a bedtime and getting used to a consistent wake-up time, you can maximize the quality of sleep and get the most sleep every night without fail.
Just one day of missing your bedtime can throw things off, but one day of oversleeping has an even more serious impact! If you rest too much one day, it can be hard for you to get to sleep for the next day. In theory, oversleeping can put your body's clock out of whack for at least 3 days!
Reason 3 not to oversleep is that the body's internal clock is a fragile thing, and you should try to keep it under control.
Catching Up On Sleep With A Nap. Yes Or No?
When it comes to sleep, it seems that napping is a whole new beast. Some people just do not possess the ability to nap! I am personally amazed by those who can just fall asleep at any time during the day. Napping can be a double-edged sword for most people, and I will go into some general aspects of napping here.
When Will A Nap Help?
- The ability to nap seems to differ from person to person. A nap can help the body to achieve some recovery. Napping for over an hour is actually very beneficial in that it can allow the body to undergo actual physical recovery. A shorter nap can give a temporary feeling of recovery even if it doesn't allow that deep sleep phase to take place.
When Will A Nap Hurt?
- While a nap can give temporary relief, the body's sleep cycle remains a fragile thing. Sporadic napping can throw off a sleep cycle by an hour or two, which might hurt in the long run.
How To Avoid Naps
- Naps are most usually brought on by sleep deprivation. They are a great tool to fend off feelings of tiredness, temporarily. A good alternative to napping is just getting an extra hour or two of sleep in the morning. This way, you have a more steady sleep cycle.
Is It Better to Sleep All At Once, Or To Catch-Up With A Nap?
One method to sleep that is not all too common is sleeping for a certain number of hours at night-time, and then getting in the rest of your sleep in the form of a nap! This is actually not a bad thing, because the nap is scheduled, and becomes part of the body's regular sleep cycle.
This is not always reliable though, because if something comes up and you have to miss your nap, then problems can arise. However, it is a better option for people that can not sleep for 8 to 10 straight hours! See how it works for you!
So by now, all of your questions about sleeping should be answered! All of the important aspects of sleep were summed up in this article and now you have a big edge when it comes to rest.
Sleep is one of the main aspects of bodybuilding and health. Anyone who cares about their sleep should definitely make an effort to get a full night of quality sleep, every night. Many people have problems sleeping due to stress and activity before bed. Having difficulty sleeping is not at all uncommon, but making sleep easy can be done by anybody.
Sleeping might carry a connotation involving laziness, but for some, it requires a conscious effort. Don't be lazy when it comes to sleeping! By sleeping, you can amplify your results greatly because of the recuperative processes and hormonal processes involved with sleep.
While the stereotypical bodybuilders life basically consists of excessive resting, eating, and exercising, that doesn't mean those three activities are just reserved for bodybuilders. Sleep, especially, should be considered important to anyone. Sleep deprivation gives you a terrible feeling and has many negative effects on health that can cause long-term problems.
For some athletes, even though they put their efforts into eating properly, taking a lot of supplements, working out hard, and getting up each day for a serious cardio session, they miss out on a lot of gains because sleep does not come easy to them.
Sleep is one part of the equation to making progress, and there is a huge difference between an athlete who sleeps well, and an athlete who does not sleep well. Any successful athlete knows that everything must be addressed to allow them to progress to their full potential and beyond it.
2nd Place - TheMind
Superman. Mr. Incredible. Hercules. These and many more have one thing in common. They were born with incredible physical strength, they didn't slave in the gym like we do, and they don't have to get up at 5:00 am to get to the gym before it becomes crowded. Idolize them as you wish, you will never be as strong as they are. All the training and steroids in the world couldn't get you there; depressing, isn't it?
On the other hand, consider Popeye, or the Incredible Hulk. Two somewhat normal humans like you and I who found the key to unlocking their full physical potential. Wouldn't it be nice to have such a key for yourself? I can't guarantee that an undeniable love of your green vegetables or a case of severe emotional dysfunction will give you the results you want, however, I can promise you that sleep may just be the key you're looking for.
That's right: Sleep.
and slightly more legal than steroids. Couldn't beat it with a stick.
No, not even if the stick were huge.
So you've heard it a million times, right? The average adult needs at least 7 or 8 hours of undisturbed sleep to be fully rested upon waking. So simple a sentence, yet often not nearly as simple an application.
Lets face it, most of us already wish there were more hours in a day. There are a million things to do in a day, and only 24 hours to do them in. Many desperately try to find a balance between work, family, sports, sleep, lifting, television, reading, and a variety of other things all at once.
But until we develop a working time extorter, we seem to be sad out of luck. The natural inclination is to cut back on certain elements of your day, and often sleep is the first thing to be tossed aside.
In today's world, sleep is often considered wasted time that a person only spends so that they can make it through another day without feeling completely groggy, and without the need to fight sleep off like the plague, as many do every day. And sure we'd like to get more sleep, but all the best television programming is on at 10:00 pm!
I think its time to finally get one thing straight:
Sleep is the ultimate recovery system. It can be accredited with everything from physical recovery from injury or sickness to enhancing mental clarity of thought and emotional balance. Sleep activates the areas of the brain that are essential in learning, allows for the release of growth hormones, and accelerates your body's process of repairing the nervous system. How cool is that?
You want to grow muscle, right? You work out hard and your diet is in check. Great. But that's not all you need to be keeping an eye on. A lack of sleep will be your Kryptonite. There is no better way to aide your body in repairing the micro trauma of a good workout than by providing the right nutrients and, of course, getting proper sleep.
Proper sleep is not just enough to make it through the day. Proper sleep is about feeling completely rested upon waking. Proper sleep is not 3-4 hours; that can only be called a long nap. While naps may be useful in certain situations, and almost always reinvigorate the body and uplift ones spirits, it is true that often times a nap is not enough to allow the body to try and repair itself of the stresses incurred to it throughout the day.
A nap, or a few short naps, should never be considered a reasonable alternative to getting a full nights (said as a figure of speech, as many sleep during the day and work in the night) sleep. A nap may be an occasional solution to sleep debt, but should not be heavily relied upon in ones daily well-being.
There are, however, some who believe that a nap shortly after an intense workout will improve their results. I, admittedly, have done little research on the topic, but it is my contention that this is not necessarily true, and is more than likely little more than conjecture or a matter of personal opinion.
Excluding the fact that it is often more difficult directly to sleep after periods of heavy activity, it seems to me that a short nap would be a trick against the body. Once the body entered a state of rest such as sleep, it would want to immediately begin repairs on its stressed muscles, ligaments, tendons, etc.
Naps, by definition, are shorter than a full nights sleep, and thus you would be waking after your body had begun repairs, but before your body had the chance to attempt and fully recover. Stopping this process in the middle of completion, in my opinion, sounds like it would lead to an almost counter-productive state in the body for full recovery.
If your body was a car, sleep would be an auto mechanics shop. You spend your day driving around, and at times push it to its limits (you'd better watch you don't get a ticket!). All of this wear and tear may leave you needing an oil change, new shocks, and a passenger side rear tire depending on your day.
Surely you're not going to expect to repair all of these things while driving down the road, and likewise you shouldn't expect your body to be able to recuperate while you're out and about. So do the right thing and bring the car to the garage: get some sleep. It'll not only keep your engine running more smoothly now, but prolong its life as well.
How To Sleep Properly
Having trouble sleeping properly? Here are some tips to help:
Monitor Caffeine Intake.
- Lets face it, the average person consumes caffeine every day. Coffee, Pop, Chocolate, Energy Drinks, even certain chewing gums and breath mints can contain caffeine.
- also can stay in your system for up to 14 hours!
If you're having trouble going to bed when you should, try and pay special attention to your caffeine consumption, and give it fair consideration. You may even try going a few days without any caffeine and see if that helps your situation. You might just find yourself getting to sleep much faster and more peacefully if you follow this one tip.
Set A Bedtime.
- Yeah, yeah, bedtimes are for little kids and sheltered teens, right? No. Setting a certain time by which to be in bed is a great way to ensure that you always have enough time left aside for sufficient sleep.
Plan ahead, and stick to it regardless of what may come up. It doesn't matter what's on TV, or if you really wanted to watch a movie, read more of your book, etc, etc. If it's your bedtime, get to sleep. The only exception should be emergencies, and let's face it:
Have A Routine.
- This may seem a bit bizarre, but bear with the idea. By repeating the same activities immediately prior to going to sleep, you are able to condition yourself to relax and fall asleep faster when you follow your usual routine.
| For Instance,
When preparing for dreamland, I wash my face and brush my teeth. I then go into my room with very little light and turn on my fan and stretch for roughly 15 minutes.
Always the same stretches, always in the same order. I then turn out the lights, climb into bed, and imagine complete blackness. I'm nearly always asleep in less than 5 minutes whether I'm completely exhausted or barely tired.
- Studies have shown that static stretching can have a calming effect on the body and help to make you feel sleepy. All this while still being very good for you in the first place.
Flexibility itself is a very valuable asset, especially in sports. All things considered, there's almost no reason not to stretch before bed.
To Learn More About Flexibility & Stretching Click Here.
- Warm milk, turkey, melatonin, sniffing chopped onions, valerian, chamomile, there are tons of alternative ways people use to get to sleep peacefully and quickly. Be brave, be bold, experiment if all else fails.
How Much Sleep Is Right For Me?
| News Flash:
We're all different! Whoa, didn't mean to startle you with that one.
According to nearly all scientific studies regarding sleep, the average adult needs between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every day to feel well rested and clear-headed. Teenagers, studies show, require between 8 and 10 hours of sleep every night: a fact often disregarded by parents and teens alike.
This is an especially important issue, as getting insufficient sleep while in your teen years could restrict the potential of growth spurts during this age. And of course, following this same pattern, infants and small children need between 14-18 hours(newborns/infants) or 12-14 hours (younger than 3 years) of sleep every day.
- It's important to note, however, that these are scientific averages. Some individuals truly only need 5-6 hours of sleep a day to feel their fullest, while others may require 9-10.
The key is to find what works best for you, and a good way to test yourself is to wake naturally for at least an entire week, and take the average nightly amount of sleep you got.
Even if this means you need to go to sleep earlier than ordinary as a means of testing your natural sleep cycle, the benefits of knowing exactly how your body acts is well worth the time dedicated.
What Supplements Can Improve My Sleep?
In the world of supplements, nearly all aspects of life have some product that will claim to enhance it. Luckily for us, sleep is no exception. Some common sleeping supplements are:
- Proven to naturally enhance the quality of sleep while boosting testosterone levels,
- is an effective sleep enhancer worth trying at least once in everyone's lifetime.
At very cost effective prices, and with no known drawbacks, ZMA is within almost everyones reach. And its users often report more vivid dreams! You'll actually want to sleep more when you take ZMA.
- is a chemical naturally produced in the body to help signal the difference between night and daytime. Because of the natural development of the human body, it is more inclined to sleep during the night, and melatonin is a main flag for this.
- is the slowest digesting protein that has the unique ability to form into a gel-like substance inside the stomach, being gradually digested over a longer period of time than say, Whey protein.
Because of this, it is ideal for times when you want a source of protein to be released more slowly over time. Sleeping is exactly one such example of this.
Most people don't get up and eat in the middle of the night, and chances are you're not the exception, so why not give your body the nutrients it needs to help build muscle for more time while you're asleep?
Your body cannot repair itself if it cannot access the materials necessary to do so. Get the most of your sleep, use casein protein before bed. Casein protein can be found in most dairy products, like milk and cottage cheese, or in powder form from many great supplement suppliers.
Not To Be Included In The Case Of Final Placement. (Oops -ed.)
This is not my best work. I have again procrastinated, and it shows. I apologize for this, although I suppose it is I who is hurt the most by this.
Ironically, writing an article about sleep and because of writing this article I am already 4.5 hours late to bed, and will not likely get more than 4 hours of sleep this evening before going to work. It's going to be a long night.
Irony is funny sometimes I guess.
2nd Place - chewwy (Tie)
The Importance Of Sleep
As human beings we spend around one third of our lives sleeping, yet the importance of sleep is often overlooked. Bodybuilders in particular require sufficient amounts of quality sleep in order to fulfill their goals of increasing muscle mass. Sleep deprivation is known to be linked to:
- Poor performance at work/school
- Impaired coordination, reaction times and judgment
- Poor long-term memory
- Worsened behavior
- Increased susceptibility to illness
- Earlier death
Along with the more serious consequences of sleep deprivation, being tired means you won't be as focused in the gym, meaning you won't be able to lift as much, and so your gains will be hindered.
However getting sufficient sleep can prevent the above, as well as inducing two processes essential to bodybuilding protein synthesis and growth hormone production.
What Exactly Happens During Sleep?
Sleep has been categorized into five quite distinctive stages, based on the electrical activity of the brain.
- can be considered as drowsiness, where the eyes are closed, but the sleeper can easily be awoken.
Stage 2 is a slightly deeper sleep, where the body is still receptive to external activity, for example sounds. The heart rate slows and body temperature decreases, as the body prepares to enter deep sleep.
During Stages 3 & 4, known as slow wave sleep, secretion of growth hormone from the pituitary gland is increased, as well as functioning of the immune system.
| What Is The Pituitary Gland?
A small oval endocrine gland attached to the base of the vertebrate brain and consisting of an anterior and a posterior lobe.
The secretions of which control the other endocrine glands and influence growth, metabolism, and maturation. Also called hypophysis, pituitary body.
Hence, if you are ill, you're advised to get plenty of sleep. Growth hormone is an anabolic hormone, causing height growth in children, and protein synthesis leading to increased muscle mass. These stages (3 & 4) take up the majority of the first third of sleep, with stage 4 being more intense than stage 3.
Stage 5 is known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep is the erratic movements of the closed eyes. This stage is thought to be associated with sorting out memories and dreaming, and dominates the final third of sleep. Brain activity is comparable to that of an awake brain, and it is during this time that sleepers often awake, and find themselves feeling alert.
REM sleep occurs in short bursts, which get longer as sleep goes on. Comparatively little is understood about REM sleep, though it is thought to be more important to developing humans, and offers little benefit directly to bodybuilding, so is not of great interest to us in this article.
How Can I Grow While Sleeping?
Many of you will be aware that the repair of muscle fibers occurs while resting, i.e. sleeping. Also, you may know that in order to repair the muscles amino acids from protein are required. In order supply these to the muscles meals high in protein must be eaten.
The period of sleep is probably the longest part of the day during which you will not eat. Hence it is essential to supply your muscles with protein to last them through the night, so they can grow, and furthermore so they do not waste away!
Studies have shown that in order for protein synthesis to occur, high levels of amino acids in the blood must be present. A fast acting protein like whey is perfect for this, as it is absorbed quickly. A serving of whey protein will elevate blood amino acid levels for up to a couple of hours, during which time protein synthesis may occur in muscles.
After this though the body may go into a catabolic state as it burns muscle for energy, since it is starved of other nutrients. However, lower levels of amino acids present in the blood can prevent this occurring, although they do little for protein synthesis. For this a slower absorbing protein such as casein is required.
These proteins could be acquired from supplements, which would be effective, but somewhat costly, milk, which contains a mix of both proteins, but has a high GI before sleep, or preferably cottage cheese, which is cheap, high in protein, and of a low GI (albeit it also tastes terrible, but us bodybuilders must endure such hardships!).
Hence a pre-bedtime meal high in whey and casein should be most effective for net muscle gain overnight.
How Much Sleep Should I Be Getting?
In our modern-day society where time is money it can often be hard to find the time to get a good night sleep, yet it is very much advisable you do. For example instead of staying up all night completing an essay, becoming tired and disorganized, it may be better to instead leave it until the morning, where you can approach it with a clear head.
The average adult is advised to get somewhere between 7-8 hours sleep per night. This number is higher for younger people, and so I would advise teenagers to shoot for a minimum of 8 hours sleep per night. Good sleep patterns when young lead to better sleep when older.
Though you may be worried about not getting enough sleep, it is also possible to get too much sleep. Anything over 10 hours is unlikely to have any more positive benefit to you, and a survey has shown those who slept for considerably longer amounts of times died earlier.
Sleeping longer often means it takes longer to fall asleep at night and getting up in the morning is no easier. Also from a bodybuilding point of view, after 8 hours you should be fully refreshed, yet your body will be starved of nutrients. By that time you should be getting up and having breakfast to halt any catabolism occurring within.
How Can I Get The Perfect Nights Sleep?
You may find you are suffering from insomnia and can't sleep, keep waking up, or wake up in the morning still tired. Below are a few tips which should help you get better sleep:
- Avoid stimulants, for example caffeine, before bed. The half-life of caffeine in an adult is about 5 hours, so I would advise you do not consume any caffeine-containing products at least that amount of time before bed, and if taken in large amounts, leave even more time.
What Does Half Life Mean?
The time required for half the quantity of a drug or other substance deposited in a living organism to be metabolized or eliminated by normal biological processes.
- The age-old recommendation of a mug of warm milk before bed can relax you and make you sleepier, as well as being a good source of protein.
- No TV, games, work or anything stressful just before bedtime will leave you more relaxed and ready to sleep.
- Don't drink lots, since you don't want to be waking up in the middle of the night to use the toilet.
- Don't use the bed for other things except sleeping (with the obvious exception!). This way you will get used to the bed being for sleeping.
- Sleep in a dark room. This will mean fewer distractions, and stimulate the secretion of the hormone melatonin from the pineal gland in the brain.
- Get into a rhythm with your sleeping patterns getting up early in the week and sleeping in during the weekend will not help you recover, but rather confuse your body. Go to sleep at a similar time each night, and get up at a similar time also.
What Supplements Can I Take?
- . As well as being a testosterone booster, people report better, more restful sleep while supplementing with ZMA, as well as more vivid dreams.
Its a natural supplement, and has no known side effects. This, along with its bargain price should make it a desirable supplement for anybody looking to add muscle mass.
- As mentioned above,
- is a hormone that regulates the body's cycle of day and night, awake and sleep. Supplementing with it may help those suffering with insomnia or jet lag to get a restful sleep, and is likely to be more useful to older people. With Optimums Melatonin being less than 2c per tablet, everyone should invest in some.
Given the importance of sleep, sleep supplements are an excellent price, and well worth the money for the gains they could cause if sleep is currently a problem area for you. As well as the two listed above; there is a broad variety of other products with relaxing effects to look into as well.
How Effective Are Naps?
Power naps are becoming more and more popular nowadays. However in other countries like Spain the siesta has been around for a long time, and is a tried and tested method of refreshing you in the afternoon, which is particularly needed in hot environments like those where the siesta was invented. Taking a 15-30 minute nap in the afternoon invigorates you, while doing little to affect sleep patterns at night.
For bodybuilders, taking a nap after a workout would be beneficial (though not always feasible). Having taken the post workout meal a nap would allow the body to absorb the nutrients as quickly as possible, and begin the repair and growth of the muscles as soon as possible. Though the growth potential in such a short amount of time is somewhat questionable, I still feel it would be better than continuing activity.
Sleep is a critical piece of the jigsaw for bodybuilding effectively. Get around 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night at a similar time, with a meal rich in whey and casein beforehand, and you should wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, energized, and with a little bit more muscle.
2nd Place - bigcalves (Tie)
How Can Someone Improve Their Sleep For Maximum Results?
Sleep. Everyone needs it. Every breathing creature needs sleep to replenish and restore its system. Humans too need sleep. But in today's fast paced world, it is common to cut the hours we sleep in and trade them for watching TV, playing games or being with friends.
Sleep is not a cliche used for little kids to get them to go to bed, but something that is needed by little kids and adults alike. Sleeping is something that your body needs and if you give it, it will reward you with great energy and willingness to work throughout the day.
Adults Need Sleep Too
See, most people think that keeping track of your hours and sleep time as an adult is something only athletes need to worry about. But those same people need 2-4 shots of coffee in the morning to get them up, a nap at around 5pm so they can function properly.
While the athletes and wiser adults that get their sleep are energized and ready for their workout after a hard day of work. It all depends on how you plan it, and what your body needs.
What Happens During Sleep
- When you fall asleep your whole body starts to repair. Every broken down tissue in your body, be it muscle or brain cell, is being repaired. Your human growth hormone level sky rockets, your testosterone goes up and your whole body is in a 'recharge' mode.
As bodybuilders and gym warriors, we need to understand and educate ourselves of the importance of sleep. You've heard how nutrition and diet are good, but rest is needed to get big. Well, this is how it works. The muscle cells that you broke down during your workout are being rebuilt.
Sure it takes more protein to rebuild it, and that's why we consume more food. Yes! It's finally making sense. More protein is consumed, so when you're sleeping you will be able to rebuild.
What Happens When You Don't Sleep Enough.
- So imagine you decide to watch TV and sleep for only 5 hours. Sure you will get up and go through your day. But often times you will get tired, then you will feel weaker as you workout and most importantly your muscles will not be fully rebuild from the night before.
Not sleeping enough can cause over training, and a plateau in your workout regime.
Learn More About Plateaus Here.
Tips For Sleeping
- Always try and get around 8 hours, preferably 8.5 so you can have a fresh start of for the next day and your whole body will be energized.
When you sleep, make sure you are in a dark room, with no noise. Also make sure the room has fresh air, and it isn't too stuffy or moist.
Remember to have a comfortable bed. Just relax and enjoy those 8 or so hours. Personally I love sleeping, because I have a very fast paced day. Work, bodybuilding and more bodybuilding. That can get you tired, and I need my sleep. Don't let distractions or TV shows keep you up wasting your time.
If you want, you can buy a nice VHS Player that records tapes, and you can set it on the show you wanted to watch so bad that you were willing to sacrifice sleep. Then you can watch it on your free time through out the day.
I've done that with sporting events past 10, and many sitcoms that I've wanted to watch but I knew that if I did I wouldn't have gotten my sleep and would have felt bad the next day. Things that are effected during sleep are the following and they are very important.
- Protein Synthesis
- Hormone Production
- Rebuilding of cells/tissue
- "Recharging" your energy level
What Can Be Done To Use Sleep To Its Maximum Ability?
What Are Some Of The Effects Sleep Has On Bodybuilding & Fitness?
Sleeping is something that comes naturally. No matter how stupid you are, when you are tired you will lay down and sleep. Your body likes it and you like it. Your body needs about 4-6 hours per night to survive and have basic functions. As 'health nuts' we are trying to get about 8-9 hours per night which is a little harder in today's fast paced world.
Lesson From Colonial Times
- You see people back in the days of colonial times had no problems doing that. They had no electricity so when 9 o'clock rolls around and everything is dark, your only option is to lie down and sleep for 8-9 hours till it gets light again in the morning. Those same people had poor eating habits, and didn't have vitamins or supplements.
They were not educated on what foods to eat, but ate whatever they wanted or had. Working out was not their priority but they still did it with their daily work. So they had bad eating habits, poor nutrition and lack of exercise and they still lived to 50-60 years of age.
That should tell us something. Sleep is very important and I believe that getting more sleep and rebuilding your body every night will increase your longevity.
Can't Get To Sleep?
- Sometimes it's hard to fall asleep. You are either too excited about something or too sore from the leg workout from a few hours ago. It doesn't matter what, but you know that you won't fall asleep soon.
- I would suggest that you stop thinking about that. Worrying will keep your brain up and your system alert. Don't worry that you won't get enough sleep. You can't reverse time so do what you can with what you have.
- Also avoid heavy exercise before sleeping as it can effect some people. I lift weights about 3-4 hours before I go to bed and I don't feel it breaking my sleep cycle.
But if you are one of those people that cannot fall asleep, then workout in the morning. Also if you are in bed and can't sleep, try breathing in and out and relaxing yourself.
- These techniques should relax you so you can fall asleep. Make sure that your room is dark and that there's no noise. The air has to be fresh and the temperature mild or depending on your preference.
Also make sure you have a comfy mattress and pillow as that can cause sleep problems. Close your eyes and enjoy the ride!
- As bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, we should know the effects of sleeping on us. We must be educated and understand how the sleep cycle works so we can use it to our advantage and create the bodies that we want to create.
Even though there is a stereotype that bodybuilders are stupid, I've never met a stupid one so far.
A lot of people see that I'm bigger than average and think that I must be a stupid construction worker (no offense to construction workers). People are ignorant and that's their problem. But if you are ignorant about your body and are trying to get somewhere, then that's a very big problem that you have.
You must understand your body before you do anything with it. As we sleep, HGH and 1-IGF hormones go up. Testosterone sky rockets as we are being repaired by our system. Every tissue is being rebuilt so it can face a new day, start a new purpose, survive. This cycle is kicking heavily within 2 hours of when you fell asleep.
So 6 hours of repair and then you wake up naturally. Imagine if you only slept 5 hours that night. What does that leave you with? 2-3 hour of repair if that. Why would you do that? So you can watch some sitcom or movie. If your goal is to be a movie critic then I say go for it, but for getting big, you need all the sleep you can get.
How Many Hours Of Sleep Should People Of Different Age Groups Get Per Day?
This is a pretty open question, open to many answers. It depends on the activity level and goals of the individual.
There are no rules written in stone that say how many hours of sleep any age group should get.
- Common sense would tell us that kids under 6 should get as much as they can, with many naps in between because they are still developing.
- Teens should get around 8-10 hours per night as they are still growing and their hormones are still developing and body is still maturing.
- Normal adults should get around 7-8 hours of sleep so the body can repair, tissues can regrow and energy levels would be restored.
- Sleep is something that is needed and even though we overlook it, it's very important. Cultures around the world treat sleeping as a peaceful state of being, while Americans are overworked, with no rest and no sleep. Most Americans will choose two hours watching TV with reduced sleep than one big night of sleep. That comes from the uneducated minds.
If all of America knew how important sleep is and how they can use it to their advantage they will be more careful and understanding about this subject.
Sleep For Bodybuilders
- Common sense would tell us that as bodybuilders we need more sleep. We put our bodies on the line with intense training, eating and lifestyle. But at the end of the day we are human just like everybody else. The thing that separates us is that we push ourself to the max and to what the human body can do.
So obviously we need a longer time to repair and rebuild our bodies. So I would recommend anywhere from 8-9 hours for an adult bodybuilder. Sure we are well grown adults, but after all we put our body through, so much more than average people, and we can really use that extra 2 hours sleep that our neighbor doesn't.
With more sleep you will have more energy and will be ready to face off the day. You won't feel tired or snappy at people and your day will go faster and easier. You won't be so stressed and also your whole state of mind will be clear.
|How Many Hours Should Each Age Group Get.|
What Supplements Can Be Used To Help Enhance A Better & Deeper Sleep?
Sleep is a natural occurrence.
Supplements can help you relax, or aid you in falling asleep. Whatever you do, always check the label for directions and stay away from 'sleeping pills', but rather get things that will relax you so you can go asleep naturally. Never rely on supplements as your only option to sleep and only aid to 'make' you fall asleep. As I said the sleep cycle is natural and once you mess with it, you won't feel that good and it will take a few weeks to set it back to normal.
Although not always good, supplements can be very beneficial. Being educated about what happens in your body and how the supplement will work will make everything easier. Just make sure you research the supplements you want to take and how it will effect your sleep cycle and other things in your lifestyle.
If some sleep aid says don't drink before bed, and you always have a glass of wine, then that would be a problem. Always remember to try and get natural sleep, and if all else fails, go the supplement way. Also make sure you avoid sleep aid pills and focus on more natural alternatives such as ZMA and Melatonin. BodyBuilding.com offers a wide variety of sleep aid products that are natural and safe for you. Here are some of the products that I selected that I've tried and think are best for good sleep.
- is a natural occurring in your brain that regulates sleep cycles. Animals and humans have this, and this is a little reminder for the body to tell it its tired and needs to repair.
Think back to a rainy day, where everything is gloomy and you feel tired and want to cuddle up in bed, nap or watch a nice movie. Remember the feeling? Well that's increased melatonin in your body.
By taking 1-3 grams before bed you will feel a little sleepy, and within 30 minutes of 'bed impact' you will fall asleep, naturally and safely.
- stands for
- . These three compounds are effective in relaxing your body and getting you ready to sleep.
As I said, I've selected the natural choices, so don't expect anything that will put you out like tranquilizer, but it will relax you and let you fall asleep.
Don't take calcium with ZMA, since calcium and zinc always compete in the blood stream and zinc always looses absorption so taking it with calcium would be futile.
Bonus Question: How Effective Are Naps? Will Taking A Nap After A Workout Of During Any Certain Time Increase Results?
Naps are often used. If you are too tired and can't go on, and it's only mid day, then common sense will tell you to take a nap. Although effective they can be a double edged knife.
Since you sleep in the afternoon, they can disturb your regular sleep cycle and that's not good. Also they can seriously get you in trouble if you get used to taking a nap and your boss finds you on your desk with head down everyday at 3.
Make sure you take naps only when you truly need it because in my opinion they cause more damage than good. Always get your night's sleep and that should be enough. Napping is only okay when you truly need it, and when you do, you won't have to think about it because your body will let you know.
Taking a nap after a workout will provide positive effects. Just make sure you don't nap for more than 30 minutes as that can disturb sleep cycle. Also make sure you never get used to sleeping and destroying your sleep cycle.
So personally I don't think you need a nap after a workout. If you feel that it works for you and doesn't disturb your cycle then go for it.
So just test it out and see how you like it. If your body gets used to it, and you can't fall asleep at night when you should, then stop. But if you can take that 30 minutes and then hit another 8-9 hours during the night I don't see anything wrong with that.
Just look out for your boss! He he, the last one was not so serious, but truly try and test the napping after a workout and if it works do it, but if it doesn't drop it. Well this is it, I hope I helped and answered your sleep questions.
3rd Place - DSM18
How Can Someone Improve Their Sleep For Maximum Results?
Sleep is often overlooked as one of the major factors that lead to making good gains in the gym. People often forget sleep's importance because with other factors such as nutrition, we have to exercise a certain degree of effort, whereas sleep just happens.
We all think sleeping is the easier thing to do, just close your eyes and jump into bed. But people have taken advantage over how natural sleep is, and have forgotten that just like training, sleeping has its principles.
When the topic of sleeping properly is bought up, most people focus on when what time they go to sleep, what time they arise, and how many hours of sleep they get each night. But there are deeper things that affect how well you sleep, and I will discuss them in this article here.
What Are Some Of The Affects Sleep Has On Bodybuilding & Fitness?
- Firstly, we have to understand sleeping affects on our body. During sleep is the time where the body's natural processes such as self-repair are at their highest.
The body takes sleep as a signal of self-healing, not only refreshing the mind, but rejuvenating all the inner processes within the body. These include cell-repair and tissue-growth essential for building quality, lean muscle.
- Sleep also refuels our energy cells, giving us the life force needed for our workouts. We all know the feeling of being depleted of energy while training and how it affects our workout intensity. Sleep ensures we have the endurance to maintain through those 1-2 hour workouts.
It's not only the amount of physical energy we have that gets us through our workouts, but our mental energy. Sleep refreshes the mind, and makes us feel alert, awake and responsive. When we feel good, we perform well, and this no exception with fitness and body building.
How Many Hours Of Sleep Should People Of Different Age Groups Get Per Day?
This question is asked so often, and many people believe the amount of sleep you get each night determines how much of the positive, or negative, affects of sleep you will get.
But it's the quality of your sleep that is more important than how long you've spent in bed. That isn't to say that if you sleep deeply, you only need half the sleep.
But someone who takes pride in the fact that they sleep 8 hours every night, but in fact sleep in a light, stage 1 sleep, is really not sleeping the best way they can.
Also, determining an amount of hours to sleep is extremely individual, just like determining how one should train in the gym. Some bodies need less sleep, where others require long hours, some people like high volume, whereas others prefer it low.
In terms of age, as a very general guideline, the elderly need longer time asleep each night, but it is unnecessary to increase or decrease sleep time for each age group because although our body ages, ultimately we are all individuals.
What Can Be Done To Use Sleep To Its Maximum Ability?
There are many techniques you can take advantage of that will bring on a deeper, more refreshing sleep, or to maintain healthy sleep patterns.
- Beginning with nutrition, several contain the hormone serotonin.
This converts in the brain into the hormone melatonin that is largely responsible for sleep onset. Serotonin has a calming affect on the brain, and will wind down the body. It makes for a perfect bedtime meal.
Foods containing serotonin include:
Another way to increase the body's levels of serotonin is by raising blood sugar levels. A medium to high G.I meal before bedtime should make you feel sleepy 45 minutes afterwards. Ideas include rice or brown bread. If protein is added to the meal, increase the amount of carbohydrates.
- Supplements are another option at increasing serotonin/melatonin levels, and other calming neurotransmitters involved in the sleep response.
- both have calming properties, and through their action are also known to provide relief from stress and anxiety.
Magnesium & Calcium
- The minerals
- are also relaxing, having a calming affect on the nerves. You should follow the suggested doses on the packets.
Then there are amino acids that can get transferred into neurotransmitters these include tryptophan, which was known as a natural antidepressant. It crosses the blood brain barrier and converts into serotonin.
- is not only good as a bodybuilding supplement, but also effective in calming the mind. Many people I know who have used this supplement reported having more vivid, colorful dreams.
- Then there is
- , a stimulant that increases the awake hormone dopamine. Although caffeine can even enhance your performance, how it is used should be done carefully.
Caffeine should be avoided after 5pm as its stimulating affects can last for longer than 8 hours . This includes coffee, guarana supplements and other caffeinated beverages.
- may also have a stimulating affect, raising chemicals should as norepinephrine, adrenaline and also dopamine.
This affect is beneficial during the day, and if falling asleep is a problem, consider lowering protein serves towards bedtime. The standard 30 grams of protein per meal won't keep you awake, but anything of excess of 60 grams may (equivalent to 200 grams of meat and one cup of rice).
Other than these nutritional options, there are also herbal remedies available. These include:
They can be taken as teas or through tablets and are available at health food stores.
- Then there are relaxation techniques. Deep breathing is the most common. These will bring you into the relaxation response, will clear your mind and help ease you into a light sleep if done before bed.
To do this, lie on your back. As you breathe, focus on the in and out flow of each breathe. Don't try and control the breathe, just let it flow.
Ignore any thoughts that come into your conscious and continue to re-focus on the breaths. 15 minutes before bed every night should be sufficient; before you know it your mind will be clear, you'll feel so much more refreshed and of course, sleep will not seem such a burden.
There are also self-hypnosis tapes available at book stores or via the internet. These aren't what people might gather, they are perfectly safe and natural, and are designed simply to put the user in a relaxation state where they feel totally at ease.
For some people exercise acts as a stimulant, keeping them awake for hours afterwards. If this is the case avoid working out before bedtime. Also, working out 5-6 hours before bed can bring on sleep.
- But nothing beats daylight. Getting ample amount of daylight during the day, means serotonin will be transferred into melatonin at night!
If you work indoors, try and get some light the first thing in the morning. Go outside for 15 minutes, maybe a good excuse to do your cardio, or read the newspaper out the back. Just 15 minutes will trigger your brain into stopping production of melatonin and begin with serotonin.
Sometimes you feel you've tried everything and nothing works. That's because you've forgotten the most important factor: your perception. If you're not thinking positively, or truly believe in what you're doing, nothing is going to work.
Many people are in this situation, but don't realize that its just their attitude.
- So, what do you do when nothing works? One option: a technique called CBT! This is simple in theory, but harder to use.
It involves changing negative thought patterns, in this case anything relating to sleep.
|Attitudes such as,|
|"I've never slept well before. Why now?
This is not going to work."
|Should be changed to,|
|"I might never have slept well before,
but I also have never tried anything I'm trying now before. All I can do is give it time."
Personally, using CBT has changed my life! It keeps me focused, and happy!
- Another mental technique you can use is mental imagery. This is popular among sports athletes. It involves seeing yourself succeed in your own mind confidence is very powerful.
Imagine how it feels to be able sleep deeply, how good the energy you get from sleep feels while you training in the gym, seeing yourself push through a 10 rep set of heavy dumbbell presses, feeling it get easier as the weight gets heavier.
Really feel it, and imagine your there in that situation. Imagine doing all the right things, taking action and buying supplements for your sleep and going to bed at a healthy hour.
At first, you may be skeptical, but the mind works in a way where if you see something and believe it, you're so much more likely to put into action.
You can't sit down and wait, just letting days go by, you have do it now! There is no time like the present to achieve all your goals!
Bonus Question: How Effective Are Naps? Will Taking A Nap After A Workout Of During Any Certain Time Increase Results?
Naps are a good way to quickly rejuvenate yourself when you're not at 100%. There are times like after work when you might feel slightly drained, and need to re balance your energy levels. Naps acts as a perfect way to freshen up and give you the energy you need to keep going for the rest of day.
Personally, I often nap or meditate for 30 minutes before a long workout. I find it clears my mind, and I come away feeling more alert and focused on what I want to achieve.
I also at times nap after a workout, usually on days I didn't beforehand, and find that after workouts I naturally fall into a very deep, restful sleep state.
If you are able to rejuvenate after your workouts, recovery time will reduce, muscles will recuperate quicker and better and you'll feel amazing!
Review Of Other Articles
Or "Why Wasn't Mine Picked?"
- Good information.
- Very detailed when discussing sleeping aid supplements.
- Limited information.
- Little personal opinion, thoughts, and experiences.
- Article could use much more detail.
- This article had the right information, but needs to expand on the ideas and information. The writer should mention their thoughts and experiences. Each section could be more descriptive, especially the conclusion.
- Provided references.
- Good organization.
- Very short. Much more facts and information could have been added. Not in-depth.
- Little to no detail. The article was just too simple.
- The information was decent, but very short. A lot more time needs to be put into this article.
- Good grammar.
- Easy to understand.
- Did not completely answer all questions.
- Not enough information. This article was basically about brain wave generation, not mentioning the many other techniques and basics of sleep.
- It seems as if this article was not based on the importance of sleep, but getting the point across about the effectiveness of brain wave generation. More research needs to be done on sleep, describing it's importance, and more ways of maximum zing the ability of sleep.
- Good information/ good research.
- Good grammar.
- Answers were short and not in-depth.
- Too short answering some questions. When discussing sleep for different age groups, they never specified why different age groups require more or less sleep.
- This article is a good base to work off of. I think it would be very beneficial to answer questions with as much detail and information. The facts were there, but the article lacked detail.
- Good use of references.
- Good information/ well-researched.
- Never directly discussed the effect of sleep on bodybuilding and fitness.
- Little detail. There was a good amount of information from sources, but the article lacked extra detail from the writer, especially when discussing sleep for different age groups.
- This was a good article, but it is important to fully answer all questions with information and detail. The use of references were excellent, but more time could have been put into describing the effects of some of the sleeping aid supplements.
More time could have been spent in other places, such as the effects of caffeine, it's half-life, why it should not be taken etc. This article was one of the better submissions, but with the heat of the TOTW competition arising, articles have to have be very descriptive.
- Persuasive to the reader.
- Easy to understand.
- This article applied more to the average sleeper, and not as much to a bodybuilder or athlete.
- No use of references. This article should have had references for some of the information used. Although this is not the only article that did not use references, it is important that when information is used to a certain extent, it should be cited.
- Too much time was spent describing sleep, rather than perfecting sleep for its maximum ability.
- This article was focused more on the effects, and importance of sleep for the average sleeper. It did not discuss the importance and impact of sleep on the average bodybuilder or athlete. More time should have been spent on describing how one can better their sleep, rather than describing sleep, and its stages.