THE ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE ENHANCER
Psst. Want to try this performance enhancer?...
All the top athletes are using it, it has zero negative side effects and incredibly, it’s totally free!
Doesn’t that sound UNREAL? Like, actually almost too good to be true?
The funny thing is… you could have been using it THIS WHOLE TIME.
I’m talking about sleep; that thing you do every night but are most likely not doing enough of, and are probably also doing wrong.
WHY WE NEED SLEEP
You may feel as though you can get by on less than 6 hours per week but let me run through a few stats from Dr. Matthew Walker, neuroscientist and sleep expert, that you may find mildly concerning at the very least, or potentially horrifying if you’ve been routinely ignoring your body’s critical need for some shut eye.
Lack of sleep can have a huge impact on your performance in the gym
On six hours of sleep or less, you body’s time to physical exhaustion drops by up to 30%, the ability of your lungs to expire CO2 and inhale oxygen decreases and lactic acid builds up quicker.
The less sleep you get, the lower your peak muscular strength, vertical jump height, and peak running speed.
Lack of sleep can put you at a higher risk of injury
A study has shown an increase of 60% in probability of injury when comparing people who get only 5 hours of sleep per night, to those getting 9 hours.
Your stability muscles also reach failure earlier when not getting enough sleep. Not ideal when you’re trying to squat a heavy barbell!
Lack of sleep can significantly impact your health
Insufficient sleep has been linked to prostate, bowel and breast cancer and is the most significant lifestyle factor for determining whether or not you’ll develop Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re getting insufficient sleep while losing weight, studies have shown that up to 70% of all the weight you lose will come from lean muscle, not fat - your body becomes resistant to giving up fat when it’s under-slept!
how much sleep do WE need?
We need 7-9 hours of good quality sleep, every. single. night.
Each sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes, and we should be aiming to get 5 sleep cycles per night.
Now, I know what you’re thinking you sly minx, “I’ll just catch up on my sleep on the weekend”.
Sorry friend, it doesn’t work like that! Studies have shown that if you deprive yourself of sleep and then try and catch up the next night, you may sleep much longer however you’ll only recover 3-4 of 8 hours of sleep lost.
So how does one obtain this good quality sleep?...
PIMP YOUR SLEEP
1. Try to wake and go to bed at the same time every day
Figure out what time you need to go to bed to get sufficient sleep before you need to wake up in the morning and set an alarm to go to bed AND your regular alarm to wake up in the morning.
2. Pimp your sleeping environment
Treat yo’ self to a high quality mattress and pillow, reduce any noise levels where possible and keep your bedroom as cool as you can comfortably manage. Your brain needs to drop it’s temperature by several degrees in order to sleep.
3. Stop using devices 1 hour before bed to reduce your exposure to blue light
According to Dr. Walker, one hour of iPhone use before bed will delay melatonin production by approximately 3 hours!
Start reducing your exposure to artificial light 2-3 hours before sleep by turning off as many lights in your house as you can. Consider investing in a pair of blue light blocking glasses if you can’t avoid blue light.
4. Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption before bed
Alcohol actually causes you to wake up many more times throughout the night (although if you’ve been drinking excessively you probably won’t actually remember this happening) and it also reduces your ability to enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. So while it may seem like that glass of wine is helping you fall asleep, the quality of sleep will be poor.
Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 4-6 hours after you have consumed that cup of coffee, making it harder for you to fall asleep. Even if you still fall asleep easily enough after consuming caffeine, it will affect your ability to enter deep sleep and leave you feeling unrefreshed the next day.
5. Make it a priority
These tips only work if you are willing to make your sleep a non negotiable. It may take time to figure out what works for you and to build your ideal sleep routine, stick it out.
Sleep is critical not only to your performance in the gym, but more importantly in helping to prevent some serious health issues. So before you start adding extra training sessions, before you reach for any supplements or start using fancy recovery tools, take a look at how much sleep you’re getting, or rather not getting! Start there. Start now.