"And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
(1) 4-6 passes through agility ladder
(2) Work up to max height box jump
(3) 8 Rounds
3x The exercise* (add weight each round until 3x reps are hard but doable)
(4) 5x Hill sprints
*The exercise - 1x hang squat snatch/1x OHS
Why Sleep Is More Important Than Training Part III
My last two posts I’ve espoused the importance of sleep and how it is crucial to your success in training and for optimal quality of life in general. After all of that harping, I thought I would round out my first series of posts with some practical ways to actually help you get a good nights Z’s. So here goes…
I know there will be people who may balk at some of these suggestions upon this initial read (like my wife did at first, she is now a converted “Light-Nazi” I’m happy to say!) However, keep in mind the reason for reducing exposure to light is because any light after the sun goes down basically tricks your brain into thinking that it’s still day time, so it doesn’t produce the hormones that are involved in going to sleep (like melatonin). It’s really a matter of priotization, do you want to increase your performance, live longer, be less stressed, burn more fat, and feel better in general?...Then PRIOTIZE your sleep, it’s FREE!
- An hour before bed time try and ramp down your light usage
- Use the minimum amount of light necessary to accomplish your task
- Use candles, dimmer switches, or turn off all over head lights and throw a towel or something over a lamp in the room for your main light source
- No “Screen time” an hour before bed (TV, computer, games…etc) the fast moving images on the screen help to keep our CNS (Central Nervous System) stimulated, inhibiting good sleep (not to mention the bright light you’re staring into!)
- Extinguish or cover all sources of light in your bedroom
- Get black out curtains for your room, it needs to be as dark as possible when you sleep
- Although this would help them too, if your partner is unwilling to do these things buy a sleep mask! (Yes, I have one, use it every night and I love it!)
- Breath deeply for 5 mins (helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system and reduce stress/balances hormone levels)
There are other supplements out there that may or may not be beneficial for sleep; I stuck to as close to natural, and side-effect free as possible. I can practically guarantee that if you do most of what’s on this list (I mean really try it, not half way but fully committed) that you will get better sleep and notice gain in more ways than one.
- Natural calm (it’s just powdered magnesium) an hour before bed two heaping teaspoons in about 8 oz of water or so. Can be found in health food stores or ordered from www.swansonvitamins.com
- Magnesium is a very soothing, stress fighting mineral that we often don’t have adequate levels of in our bodies and can help to increase the quality of your rest
- Chammomile Tea an hour before bed
How much is enough? Every person is different and there are various factors that go into how much you need. If you’re training hard, or really stressed out more is probably better. A good way to test this is (while being a light Nazi from what you learned above of course) take five days to a week and go to bed early, I mean be in bed, lights out around 9:00 p.m.. If possible try and wake up on your own with no alarm and just see what time your body naturally awakens. If you wake up and feel refreshed and ready to go, then that is sufficient sleep. If upon waking you feel sluggish and can’t get started without a giant cup of joe then you need more sleep!
A word about sleep cycles: A good night’s sleep isn’t just about how much you get per se, but about how many complete, consecutive sleep cycles you get. A complete sleep cycle is about 90 mins. Ideally you want to time your nightly rest to getting as many as those full cycles as possible, while waking up in the first 30 mins of your last cycle, this will be beneficial. Beneficial because after 30 mins you start slipping down into the deeper cycles of sleep, if you’ve ever woken up from a nap and felt completely wonky and out of it …then you’ve woken up from a deeper cycle of sleep, which brings us to…
A word about naps! The reason they call them “power naps” is because the 20-30 min range won’t put you in the deeper cycles of sleep and can help you feel rejuvenated and refreshed. So if you’re going to nap it’s best to do it before 4-5:00 p.m. and keep them in the 20-30 min range. The next best thing is a full 90 min nap earlier in the day. The closer you get to your normal bed time, the more likely your nap will affect your ability to get to sleep that night, especially if your nap is a full (90 min) cycle.
Hopefully I’ve impressed upon you the importance of sleep and how critical it is to not only our training but optimal health and wellbeing. Remember that getting fitter is more about the recovery and what you do 98% of the time when you’re not training…not the training it’s self. So eat clean, prioritize your sleep, and listen to your body, it will not steer you wrong.