Its estimated that over 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder. For many athletes getting adequate rest and sleep can be just as challenging as training or competition. As we sleep our bodies release growth hormone which helps our muscle tissues repair and grow. Lack of sleep can also lead to overtraining and injury. Without sleep the majority of strength training athletes will no make quality muscle gains.
So what is the right amount of sleep needed for the hard training athlete? Many experts agree that 7-8 hours of restful sleep should be enough for proper recovery and muscular gains. In addition to restful sleep, taking a short power nap in-between workouts can also increase growth hormone output as well as an increase in high level performance. Short naps taken in the day can also aid in injury prevention. What we eat throughout the day also plays a big role in the recovery department. It is extremely important to pay close attention to what we consume before bed. here are a few helpful tips:
- Stay away from big meals late at night
- Cut down on caffeine
- Avoid alcohol before bed
- Limit the amount of liquids in the evening
- Quit smoking
Most athletes eat every 3-4 hours each day. For higher quality sleep eat smaller sized meals leading up to bedtime. A heavy meal can throw our digestive system in overdrive and that can also keep us up. Eliminating caffeinated drinks like sodas and coffee can also help promote a more restful sleep as well as make it less difficult to fall asleep. most people think that alcohol is a great sleep aid. While alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality and puts a beat down on your metabolism. All athletes from rightfitnessandnutrition.com try to consume more than a gallon of water per day. I don't know about you guys but waking up several times per night to use the bathroom isn't fun. Try and get your water in before bedtime. Using high quality supplements can also help with sleep and muscle recovery. One of our most popular recovery and sleep aid supplements as well as my favorite is GHR Release from Red Dawn. GHR Release was formulated for serious athletes who want to improve natural growth hormone production and muscle recovery.