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15 Sleeping Tips For Better Muscle Growth and Recovery

By Health Listed / September 9, 2016

The following post is by fitness blogger Mike Asara and was originally published in Muscle Transform.


“You give your body the chance to repair, recharge, and regrow during sleep,” says wellness expert Dr. Felecia Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, RACSM. “It’s the ideal time to replenish nutrients, and, since your body isn’t moving, it allows the muscles to repair themselves.”

This article is going to talk about the 15 simple sleeping tips that stimulate muscle growth and faster recovery period. It will reduce the amount of time that it takes you to fall asleep, as well as help you sleep more deeply and for longer periods each night. It’s known a fact that getting a sufficient amount of restful sleep every night is very important when it comes to maximizing muscle growth.

It’s important for your overall health, which includes maintaining concentration and motivation level at its peak. It benefits both inside and outside the gym. Sleeping will optimize your levels of testosterone and IGF1, reduce cortisol levels as well as improve your body’s overall fat burning efficiency.

Keep in mind that there are many different methods that you could use when it comes to improving sleep quality and it would be impossibly to mention all of them. So, we’re sticking to the topics that actually benefits strength training or if you’re just looking to get a better night time sleep.

1. Maintain a Sleep Schedule

Maintain a consistent sleeping and waking schedule from day to day and stick to it. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day helps to regulate your body’s internal clock so that it expects sleep at a certain time each night. This will decrease the amount of time that it takes you to fall asleep as well as improve your overall sleep quality.

This probably won’t be possible for some people because of varying hours such as work and school, but just do the best you can to set a schedule and stick to it as closely as you can including the weekends as well.

2. Associate Your Bed with Sleep and Sex Only

Now that the topic has gotten your attention! If you have some late-night work to finish then work on it at a desk or on the couch or anywhere else besides the bed.

You don’t want to merge your sleeping space and your working space into the same area because when you go to bed you want your body to associate that specific place with relaxation and pleasure rather than stress and problem-solving. 

3. Turn Off All Electronic Device

Turn off all electronic device 30-60 minutes before bed. So that includes television, smartphones, laptops etc. Bright light suppressesmelatonin production, a key hormone that regulates sleep. So instead of watching TV or texting, spend that 30-60 minute on some light reading, listening to an audiobook or using a relaxation technique such as meditation which is highly recommended for everybody.

4. Don’t Sleep with a Hungry or Full Stomach

This one will vary from person to person, but as a general rule, avoid going to sleep with a too full or too empty stomach. A small to medium sized meal within a few hours before going to bed will allow you to sleep more comfortably, and the insulin release will also improve melatonin production as well.

5. Keep Your Room Dark and Quiet

Keep the temperature between 60-67 degrees. Use blackout curtains or a sleeping mask to eliminate as much light as possible. Get rid of background noises by either sleeping in a completely quiet room, use ear plugs, or using white noise from a fan, humidifier, or some other type of white noise machine. 

6. Consider Natural Supplements

For basic sleep supplements in your overall plan. We recommend magnesium, which is heavily involved in regulating sleep and gets depleted through sweat. The dosage for that is 200-400mg per day with a meal, either in the form of magnesium gluconate, glycinate or citrate.

The second is lavender oil which helps to reduce anxiety and putting the body into a more relaxed state.

The Last one is melatonin, and the standard dosage for that is 1-3mg half an hour before bed, and you’ll be best off to start off on the low end and just gradually increase until you find the right dosage for yourself (see recommended natural supplements on the last page).

7. Avoid Caffeine

Avoid caffeine and any other type stimulants within 6-8 hours of sleep. So even if you do happen to fall asleep just fine after an evening cup of coffee or a pre-workout drink, the caffeine and the other stimulants they contain can still decrease your overall quality of sleep. So if you want to fall asleep as easily as possible and stay asleep, then cut off all stimulants by the late afternoon.

8. Avoid Long Daytime Naps

Taking long naps during the day time can interfere with your night time sleeping. If you feel you need to take a nap during the day then 15-20 minutes of power naps should be enough to recharge you.

9. Good Sleeping Posture Help You Sleep Better

Sleeping on the back produces the least amount of pressure, followed by sleeping on your side. Stomach sleeping is the most stressful sleeping position. Sleep on your back or side rather than your stomach whenever possible. Use pillows under your neck and knees for support if you sleep on your back. When sleeping on your side use pillows between the knees to maintain spine alignment.

10. Choosing the Right Pillow

Consider the depth of your neck curve, your preferred sleeping position, and the firmness of your mattress when selecting a pillow. Select a pillow that supports your head and fills in your neck curve. If your pillow is too high, replace or modify it. You can trim foam or remove padding to make it thinner. If your pillow is too low, add foam, fills or a folded towels to increase the thickness.

11. Have Sex or Masturbate Before Bedtime

Both pre-bedtime activities are a naturally stress reliever. Not only does sex lower your blood pressure afterwards, it also help keeps your immune system humming according to Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD a sexual health expert, “Sexually active people take fewer sick days.” Hey, anything for a good night sleep right?

12. Eat a “Sleepy Snack” Before Bed

According to Mary Hartley, MPH, a registered dietitian, bedtime snacks should be no more than 150 to 200 calories max.

The following food list contains a good amount of tryptophans (an essential amino acid in the human diet), a precursor for creating melatonin which aids  for a better sleep. Eat them an hour before bed.

  • Peanuts
  • a scoop of ice cream (low fat)
  • small bowl of cereal and milk
  • granola with low-fat milk or yogurt
  • a banana
  • few cookies
  • toast
  • a small muffin
  • half a turkey sandwich

13. Trying Taking a Warm Bath or Shower

Stepping out from warm water into that cool bedroom atmosphere will cause your body temperatures to drop slightly, which can trigger sleepiness by slowing down metabolic activity. 

14. Put All Your Worries Aside

Make the night easier for yourself by accepting things for what it is, letting go of all of your negative thoughts and worries. Be gentle with yourself. There’s nothing you can’t handle, tomorrow is another day, for now it’s bedtime, PERIOD!

15. Meditate

Last but not least is meditation. There are countless benefits of meditation even for bodybuilding. As they say, “the mind controls the body”.  One of the reasons we can’t fall asleep is that our minds are not able to slow down from the anxieties and stresses that we face on a daily basis.

When the mind is calmed through meditation, sleep becomes natural and easy. Meditation also helps lower your heart rate and relax your muscles making it easier for you to fall asleep. One of the methods you can try is to focus on a calming word or phrase. Lie still and relax your mind to maximize the state of restfulness. Better sleep, better recovery!

If you use other methods that’s not mention in this article, then feel free to share them by posting it in the comment section below.

References:
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4460
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-better.htm
http://ergonomics.ucla.edu/component/content/article/92-back-safety/120-sleeping-posture

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