Sleeping is one of the most underrated aspects of body composition. A bad nights sleep will have you craving poor food choices, leave you will lack of energy for the gym and ruin your recovery. These 5 tips can help you get a full night of sleep you deserve!

In short our top 5 tips are as follows

  1. Sleep in a dark room
  2. Take Zinc & Magnesium
  3. Use Relaxation Techniques
  4. Remove distractions from the bedroom
  5. Keep your blood sugar stable

Below we will break down each one

1. Sleep in a dark room

Humans have evolved to sleep in dark places. Specifically, caves. Light stimulates the body to wake up. That’s why when you try to wake up at 5.30am in December its HARD work! However, if you try to wake up at 11am on a summer’s day with the sun blazing through you window, you hop up like a kid on Christmas morning! I find that blackout blinds work very well to keep out the light. Upon waking, turn on some form of light to allow your body to wake up. If you’re still struggling to wake up, it’s likely your cortisol levels are too low. A slap in the face, a cold shower or a coffee will all work to increase cortisol and give you the kick start to the day you need!

2. Take Zinc & Magnesium

Magnesium has a calming effect on your nervous system. It helps with the detoxification of cortisol and high cortisol levels at the time of sleeping will keep you awake well into the night. People who are stressed are likely to have higher levels of cortisol, especially if they’re training hard (remember training is a stress to the body) and are therefore likely to need more magnesium. Best taken in the evening, there are different ways to take magnesium. I often recommend magnesium glycinate as it’s chelated to the amino acid glycine, which means it can used more efficiently by the body. Other alternatives are to take Epsom salt baths, or use a magnesium oil spray behind the knees or on the neck, where the skin is thin.

3. Relaxation

Have you ever been to sleep, woken up and felt like you never actually slept at all? The MIND needs to rest, just as much as the body. It’s impossible to get well rested sleep if your mind is running constantly. Worried about work the next day? Forgotten to prep your food for the day? Scared of missing your alarm? You need to relax before you sleep. Read on to find out how.

Pre Bed Meditation

Focusing intensely for 5 to 10 minutes each day on the positive areas in your life, is a great way to switch off the mind. Contemplate just how lucky you are to be alive. Trust me, there’s always someone in a worse off position than you.

Be Grateful

I got this one from Charles Poliquin. After your pre bed meditation, you should be able to list at least 5 things you’re grateful for. Start with ‘I am grateful for’ and try to write 5 new things each day. Start simple. Be grateful for a bed to sleep in, a warm shower, the shoes you wear and the water you drink. Appreciate the basic things in life first.

4. Sleep in the bedroom

I know people that do all manner of nonsense while in their bedroom. Eating, writing, PlayStation you name it! The bed should be primarily used for sleep.  Try moving your TV, computer or other brain-stimulating activities to different rooms and keep your bedroom the ultimate relaxation area.

5. Stable blood sugar

Stable blood sugar levels are super important for fat loss, but they play a big part in your ability to sleep peacefully during the night. If you go to sleep starving it’s likely your blood sugar is low. If you go to bed buzzing it’s likely your blood sugar levels are too high. Stable meals with proteins (from animal), carbohydrates (from plant) and fats (from the animal) is the best bet before bed. Try not to overeat before bed, instead aim to eat until you’re satisfied.

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Reece Mander BSc, NASM CPT

Owner of Reece Mander Fitness.

Trainer at RAW Personal Training in Hong Kong.

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