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.