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How to Optimize Your Sleep

By Ben Smith

Sleep is the most important aspect of recovery. See below for the reasons why sleep is so crucial in aiding performance:
  1. Running low on sleep results in a lack of energy. If you’re in a sleep deprived state, you will not perform well mentally or physically. Thus, detracting from your work and your workouts.
  2. You “grow” and “build” when you sleep. Growth hormone, the hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that plays a large part in recovery, is created at its highest levels in the wee hours of the morning (1-4 am).
  3. Sleep deprivation can cause insulin resistance (storing fat versus building muscle), higher levels of catabolism (Breaking down of muscle tissue), and less anabolism (The process that fosters protein synthesis, and importantly muscle building qualities).
^Source: Central Athlete.

And read on to learn about a few easy ways to optimize your sleep:

  1. Refrain from electronic usage (Staring at screens) 1-2 hours before going to sleep. If you must look at a screen in the hours leading up to bedtime, use night mode or blue-light blocking glasses to prevent the production of cortisol late at night. Or better yet, use both!
  2. Blackout your bedroom. Similar to point #1, total darkness and the avoidance of light while sleeping is critical in the production of melatonin for maximum sleep potency.
  3. Remove any electronics from your bedroom (Especially ones that emit bluetooth, wifi signals, and light). If you use your phone as an alarm, make sure to keep it in airplane mode.
  4. Devise a pre-sleep routine that involves going to bed at the same time every night. The human body is a creature of habit, and you should treat sleep accordingly. We suggest setting two recurring alarms: One reminding you it’s time to wind down, and another letting you know it’s time to get in bed.
  5. Optimize the room temperature: 65-69 degrees is preferable when sleeping.
  6. Binaural beats: If you struggle to get to sleep, white noise with binaural beats are a great way to induce sleepiness and keep you asleep. We recommend the “RelaxMelodies” app.
  7. Arguably most important is the quantity of time you sleep. 7-9 hours of quality sleep will yield an adequate amount of rest to keep you performing at your highest levels as human being.

Happy sleeping!

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