Sleep And Mood – Another Update

Because what good girl doesn’t sleep in full makeup?

Following on from my previous posts in this series:

I thought I’d share my recent thoughts on the issue.

  • ZMA capsules – initially, I only took these on the days where I trained, the reasoning being that the deeper sleep you can achieve, the quicker your muscles will repair. Now however, I am taking these every single night – the difference between when I do and don’t is marked. On nights that I don’t take them, when I wake up in the night it can take me a while to fall back to sleep. On nights that I do take them, I still wake up sometimes, but feel “thick” with sleep, and fall back into a slumber immediately. It is the magnesium in them that has the effect on sleep – the zinc does nothing (it’s supposed to be a natural testosterone booster, the there is zero evidence for this unless you’re suffering from a deficiency)
  • Clean bedding – ok, I will admit that sometimes I am guilty of letting quite a few weeks go by in between washing the sheets. It’s an incremental thing – you don’t notice them gradually becoming dirty. The difference when I do eventually get around to it however is marked – I sleep literally twice as well. I’ve started making myself wash them every single week without fail
  • Falling asleep with the TV on – this one might not be for everyone, but several of my friends and I swear by it. I put an episode of some mundane nature documentary on, set the sleep timer on my TV, and put the volume to a level where I just can’t quite make out what is being said – any louder and I start listening to it. My brain tries to focus in on the words, but can’t make them out, and it completely distracts me from any thoughts going around my head. That taken in conjunction with looking at a bright screen in a pitch black room (make sure you are using the excellent f.lux to adjust the colour temperature for night time viewing) is like a sedative – I’m flat out asleep in under 5 minutes, every single time, without fail
  • Respect your body clock – the hormones in our body are designed to cycle on a daily basis in conjunction with the cycles of light and dark. If I go to bed around when it gets dark, and get up when it starts to get light (I’m currently sleeping 10pm – 6am) I literally feel amazing compared to if I go to bed too late and sleep in. Even if I wake up at 5am, and I know I’ve only had 6 hours’ sleep, I will still get up rather than making myself go back to sleep for another couple of hours, since I know I will feel groggy and shitty all day if I do so

So there you have it, who’d have thought there’d be so much to discuss on the topic. I really do consider it to be the single most important factor in my life to determining my mood, my energy levels, concentration, progress at the gym – you name it, it’s all based on an excellent night’s sleep.

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23 thoughts on “Sleep And Mood – Another Update

  1. It really does make a colossal difference. When I’ve slept badly or not enough, I’m in a foul mood all day.

    Someone posted on ROK about the importance of sleep recently.

    Watching TV’s an interesting one, although I’d be inclined to avoid screens altogether before bed. I find reading works – I’ll get through maybe 10-12 pages, then I’m out like a light.

  2. I’ve found the tv works as well. Even if it is a show I like and I’m laying on the couch I generally fall asleep within 15 minutes or so. Makes you think how that idiot box causes your brain to shut down.

    Melatonin capsules I’ve found also help if you are having trouble going to sleep. Works better than any pharmaceutical aid without the nasty side effects.

    • I had tried melatonin in the past actually, but found they left me a little groggy in the morning. Some people swear by them for helping to relieve jet lag.

  3. That’s weird that you can use tv. I like to use the time before sleep as a pre-dreaming meditative time in the dark. Deep breathing and stretching. For white noise, a nice fan works well.

    • It’s only when it’s just too quiet for me to hear – otherwise, I start listening to what they’re saying. It’s kind of like white noise I suppose, in that it distracts your conscious mind.

  4. Timely post, yea I been laid off work lately and i’m sleeping from 2-10am and wake up feeling shitty every day, where as before 12-6am, I felt great. The problem is i’m naturally a night owl, whenever I get laid off work for a little while, in about a months time I can’t get to sleep before 8am, drives me fuckin nuts. Gonna have to do some experimenting. You also read anything about melatonin? Give this article a look over, interesting stuff. http://www.metabolicalchemy.com/melatonin-and-muscle-damage/

  5. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant (also good for cramps that don’t respond to anything else). That’s why it works so well. It turns down sympathetic tone and allows your parasympathetic system to dominate.

    Unfortunately, ZMA never did anything for me and I didn’t get any awesome dreams either. 😦

    I need to try out the clean bedding though.

  6. I was taking chelated magnesium for sleep (200mg) & it worked like a charm for a year or so then wasn’t working as well. I read that you could take as much as 600mg, so I started taking 400mg & it works again. There is a bit of the “Milk of Magnesia” effect, but I’ve read that it doesn’t last long before your body adjusts to the higher dosage.

    I tried melatonin for a while, but it would either keep me awake or it would give me exhausting, crazy dreams & I would wake up groggy & confused.

    I have to have the room pretty chilly to sleep well – about 60F or so. I’ve found that using black-out curtains works really well, too.

    • I too much prefer a chilly room to sleep. Unfortunately, no houses in the UK tend to have AC fitted as standard, so it gets very uncomfortable in the summer.

      I did a Vornado fan recently mind you which is pretty damn good at cooling the room down a bit.

  7. I’ve also found that it’s important not do work on your computer or school work in the same space that you sleep. Also decorate the bedroom in colors that calm and put you at ease.

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  9. I worked night shift then later in clubs. My sleep pattern has been fucked up for years and spending the last few months trying to straighten it out has been amazing. I feel so much better, so much more energetic and I can’t believe I spent so many years tired and strung out on stiumulants. Thanks for this post, will be looking into ZMA.

    • Hey no worries, hope it can be of some help. It’s only the magnesium part of ZMA capsules that is important anyway, so if you can get some chelated magnesium (something like this, but you can get it cheaper – http://bit.ly/10HpOOh), that’s the bit that will help you sleep.

  10. The only thing that’s put me off ZMA is that one of the side effects is causing hair to thin, but I might have to get on it soon due to my fucked up sleeping pattern because of my job. Nice one.

    • Really? I hadn’t heard that one. What biological mechanism is supposed to cause it? It would have to be elevated dihydroteststerone.

      If you’re at all worried about hair loss in general, you should look at propecia/finasteride if you haven’t already.

      Cheers

  11. Whoa, don’t throw big words like that at me! Haha! I think it was when I looked for ZMA reviews on Google and it came up on one of them. My hair is thinner than it was a few years ago, but it’s not really a problem. I’ll check that stuff out though.

    • Haha, I was just going to put DHT, but figured that would have been even more cryptic.

      Propecia/finasteride works really well as a preventative. I’ve been on it for years, as have many of my pals. I’m friends with the doctor who pioneered its use as a hair treatment in this country actually.

      You may see horror stories of permanent impotence – it’s all a crock of shit.

      The peace of mind I got from knowing I was never going to lose my hair was well worth this permanently limp penis (joke!)

      • I’ll look into that. There’s loads of options for people these days with thinning/balding hair so surgery isn’t always out of the question eventually if needs be. I’ve got a Seth Cohen head of hair so hopefully I’m good into my 30s.

        I’m trying your documentary sleep tactic later on. Got Attenborough on the iplayer on my PS3 and the tv timer set.

      • Good luck. And if it doesn’t work, you’ll at least be able to come and tell your pals lots of interesting facts about mammals the following day.

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