Surveys show that very few people consistently get a good night’s sleep. With the distractions and pace of modern life, it can be difficult for most of us to shut everything off and give our bodies sufficient time to fully rest and recover. If you’re serious about packing on muscle then you have do all that you can to make sleep a priority.
Most of the muscle repair, rebuilding and growth happens when you’re asleep. The release of testosterone and growth hormones are increased during sleep. If you don’t get sufficient 7-9 hours of sleep you deprive yourself of optimum muscle growth.
Follow these tips to optimize your sleep for muscle building:
1. DON’T EXERCISE CLOSE TO BED TIME
If you train with the goal of achieving maximum muscle gains, then you probably know how important it is to train hard and intense at the gym. The problem with training hard and intense close to bed time is that your metabolism and heart rate are revving for hours after training.
Your nervous system will be active and your mind wired if you train intensely before going to sleep – especially if you also take a pre-workout! Try to complete your workout session 3-4 hours before you go to sleep. That should be enough time to calm your body down and transition to rest and relaxation.
2. NO LATE NIGHT CAFFEINE
Caffeine boosts your metabolism, improves your alertness and increases your energy level. So, for the same reasons that caffeine is beneficial during waking hours, it’s not beneficial during sleeping hours.
If you consume high caffeine foods or supplements late in the evening, it’s better to cut them out. Don’t drink coffee later than the afternoon time. Workout 4-5 hours before going to sleep, especially if plan to take a pre-workout supplement that contains caffeine.
3. EAT SMART AT NIGHT
Avoid eating heavy and spicy meals close to bed time. Heavy meals overload your digestive system and while they might induce sleep, they negatively affect your quality of sleep. Have a lighter high protein snack an hour before bed such as cottage cheese with walnuts.
4. LIMIT YOUR WATER INTAKE
Anything that makes you wake up in the middle of the night reduces your quality of sleep. So, don’t drink too much water in the last two hours before going to sleep.
Do stay hydrated throughout the day but drink the bulk of your water in the morning and daytime.
5. SHUT OUT ARTIFICIAL LIGHTS
Recent studies have found that artificial light exposure; primarily from electronic devices like cell phones and laptops suppress the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps your body maintain its natural circadian (sleep) rhythm.
Put away your cell phone and laptops about half an hour before going to bed. Also, shut out other artificial light sources and sleep in darkness.
6. REMOVE THE NOISE
Agitating noises such as your faucet dripping, dogs barking and nearby traffic can make it tough to go to sleep and reduces your quality of sleep. If you can’t physically remove these noises, then use ear plugs or other noise eliminating devices.
7. ACTIVELY CALM YOUR MIND
Clear your mind a few hours before you head to bed. Put aside and stop thinking about work matters, emotional discussions or complicated decisions that you have to make.
Consciously and actively remove all the noise of the day from your mind. You can also do deep breathing exercises to remove thoughts from your mind and relax.