Updated: Apr 18, 2019
So many people are looking for a quick fix - this is why diet supplements are a billion dollar industry. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is no quick fix that’s going to get you to your optimal body composition while optimizing your health. Consistent efforts over long periods of time are the key to body composition and health. Sleep, in particular, is not only one of the most important factors but it’s also free, so nobody wants to hear about it, but I’m going to talk about it anyway. We already know that quality sleep positively affects our body composition and training because a naturally occurring anabolic hormone (GH) is released when you catch your ZZZ’s. However, there are different stages of sleep, so unless you are getting the right quantity and quality of sleep, you may be missing out on that Growth Hormone release. Training athletes should obtain a bare MINIMUM of 8hrs per night, as studies have shown that 70% of GH is secreted in Stage 3 sleep, and stage 3 only occurs once in every 90 minute sleep cycle. Poor sleep quality and quantity are not only linked to lower testosterone and GH levels (read less gains) but also the balance between your hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin. Reduced leptin and increased ghrelin levels correlate with increased hunger, which means your brain is sending you hunger signals more often than well rested individuals!
If you struggle to get enough sleep in, set a strict bedtime and wind down routine. Ensure that you: -put screens away 2-3hrs before bed or use blue light blocking apps/glasses -exercise earlier in the day -eat your last big meal 2-3hrs before bed so that your digestive system doesn’t keep you up -eat slow digesting starchy carbs in your last meal of the day to promote a deeper sleep -avoid caffeine after 12 noon
-sleep in a cold, completely dark room -engage in de-stressing activities like journaling, reading, meditating (use an app like HeadSpace), stretching, etc... -supplement with magnesium, zinc, GABA and vitamin B6 (@nova3labs Max Sleep has all of this in one product) to shorten sleep onset latency, improve sleep quality and muscle recovery