Fred Flintstone is the Only One Who Should Make the Bed Rock – The importance of sleep for recovery

blueblocker shades to help sleep

I refuse to make you all jealous by posting pictures of my bed.  But I really do have the greatest bed of all times.

It’s huge, it’s got a big caved canopy and it sits in a very cold room.  My bed is sleep heaven.

Why is this important?  Because the number one thing one can do for recovery is sleep.  Everyone seems to perseverate on diet.  I would argue that eating enough and not eating *only* crap are good general guidelines for diet and that people spend far too much time arguing about the details of what and when and macros.

Nobody really likes to talk about sleep.

But many great things happen during sleep including growth hormone release to fuel more gainz, re-phosphorylation of ATP (to fuel tomorrow’s workout), new neural connections and repair of free radical damage.

Not sleeping can contribute to depression, impair the ability to learn new activities (like, oh say, snatching) and make gainz less likely by impeding all of the above processes.

Sleep is an integral part to becoming stronger.  So important that I would argue that when I hear people complain about overtraining, what they’re really saying is that they  are under-recovered and that usually means not sleeping and, to a lesser degree, not eating enough.

But the problem lies mostly with sleeping and that’s something people don’t even realize they’re lacking.  In many surveys, around 70% of people get 7 or fewer hours of sleep per night.  And the actual quality of the sleep is often poor.  Just being in bed for 10 hours doesn’t count if the hours of sleep aren’t restful with appropriate REM cycles.

Smartphone melatonin

So what should you do to get better sleep and become a gainz making beast?

  1. don’t be afraid to look like a dork.  My husband convinced me to get blueblocker sunglasses to wear after 9pm so that the light, especially the light from my smart phone and computer, doesn’t disrupt sleep.  I am actually tired and able to go to bed when I wear these starting after dinner.  The pair I bought was $9 from Amazon.  It’s not a bank breaker
  2. keep your bedroom cold.  Sleep quality is enhanced by sleeping in a cold room.  No more thermostat wars.  Just turn it down and keep it down.
  3. If you refuse the dork look, at least get programs like f.lux for your computer which will automatically dim the computer screen at night to decrease stimulation to your CNS.
  4. Nobody loves caffeine as much as I (and maybe my bestie who keeps Starbucks in the black) do.  But I have a hard and fast rule about no Monster, no coffee, no nothing after noon.  I want at least 10 hours between my last Monster and bedtime to prevent disrupting sleep patterns
  5. eat some carbs and consider some milk before bed.   I’m not going to argue whether or not milk is good for you.  But I will say that it has tryptophan which can aid sleep and it has casein which is a long release protein to keep your muscles fed overnight.
  6. reserve bed for sleeping and sex.  Read, surf the web, post to Facebook from your couch or a chair but keep bed a space only for sleeping and sexing.

Promise yourself for a mere two weeks you will try to get 8 hours of outstanding quality of sleep.  If you don’t see mood, weight and your lifts all improve, I’ll be shocked.  Give it a try.  The only thing you’re risking is being mocked by your children who will hum, “I wear my sunglasses at night….”


2 Responses to “Fred Flintstone is the Only One Who Should Make the Bed Rock – The importance of sleep for recovery”

  1. MichaelNovember 24, 2015 at 5:26 PM #

    What about the supplement 5-htp ?

    • Rachael KeilinNovember 29, 2015 at 11:51 PM #

      I like it quite a bit for sleep. No grogginess the next morning. I take 100mg when I use it, but doses 25-300mg are a normal range. Melatonin is great but can give people very vivid, almost disturbing dreams. Recommended doses are 1-20mg. I’ve taken 3mg when I’ve used it, my husband takes 3mg. L-theonine also has some use in sleep, mostly to counteract caffeine stimulation. I’ve never taken it, but 100-400mg seems to be the recommended dose. As with any drug, even over the counter meds, start with the lowest dose and increase as needed. Beware of interactions with other medication you’re taking. 5-htp is contraindicated for people taking common anti-depressants for example.

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