What’s the best hack to getting results Jamie?
I get frequent and some very awesome questions from both in-person personal training and online clients. One common query surrounds hacks. A shortcut to good ol fashioned time, patience oh, and putting in the hard yards.
I get asked about oils, shakes, best carbs, food timing, supplements, exercise routines, recovery methods for enhanced performance and recovery … all except one extraordinarily simple thing we do every day. This one thing for the most part, we don’t do very well but once improved, really can be a powerful performance enhancer in all aspects of our life.
Drum Roll… Sleep more.
We’ve all experienced those foggy days after waking up prematurely perhaps, or maybe after a late night or an interrupted nights slumber owing to a feisty family of possums who have been practicing their Irish dancing on your roof! This latter fits the description of my last 4 nights … sigh, yawn!
We all know we probably should sleep more, shooting for those recommended 7 to 8 hours a night. Yeah, I know, you’ve probably claimed at some time to do just fine on 5 hours a night like Elon Musk or Donald Trump who claims to sleep 4-5 hours a night and maybe you are one of those rare individuals who claim the same. However, the vast majority of people need 7 to 8 hours of clean sleep per night to recover and rejuvenate.
Contrary to what some say about getting used to reduced sleep periods, the body still needs the 7 to 8 hours+ to sequence a series of bodily processes to recover from the previous day and especially if you exercise frequently and expect to see results.
Board-certified sleep medicine doctor and neurologist W. Christopher Winter, M.D., of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine, and author of the upcoming book, The Sleep Solution, says if it takes you about 10 to 15 minutes to conk out, you only get up once or twice at night, and you wake up before your alarm, you’re sleeping at the right level of efficiency – especially if you feel well-rested throughout the day. “You’re really looking for that happy medium.”
As for conditioning yourself to reduced sleep, If you’re falling asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow or while relaxing in front of the TV in the evening, chances are you’re not getting enough sleep though. It is a fine balance.
So, yes, getting those 7 to 8 hours is a balance you get to experiment with but happens during sleep that’s so important for all you exercisers?
A brief look at the stages of sleep
- Between being awake and falling asleep
- Light sleep
- Onset of sleep
- Becoming disengaged from surroundings
- Breathing and heart rate are regular
- Body temperature drops (so sleeping in a cool room is helpful)
- Deepest and most restorative sleep
- Blood pressure drops
- Breathing becomes slower
- Muscles are relaxed
- Blood supply to muscles increases
- Tissue growth and repair occurs
- Energy is restored
- Hormones are released, such as: Growth hormone, essential for growth and development, including muscle development
- Provides energy to brain and body
- Supports daytime performance
You can see the list of benefits of stage 3 and do you think we’re helping ourselves by missing out on these? Can we really recover from our training and work if we’re missing out on essential snooze time?
Maybe keep track of your sleep over the next few nights, note what time you go to bed at assuming you’re not drifting off on the sofa and of course note what time you wake at. If you’re feeling under par during the and getting less than 7 hours sleep, perhaps it’s time to address what time you go to bed at.
On that note, I’ll stop here so you can plan your bed time – oh, and maybe investigate turning off blue light devices and changing your smart devices night mode to the orange back light.
Good any thoughts? Drop me a note if you’d like.