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If you’ve ever been looking for an excuse to sleep in longer, here it is. Science shows that women’s brains work harder and need more sleep in order to perform optimally.
Okay, so none of the science can back up that women actually need more sleep, they did however show that they needed more sleep to feel as rested as possible.
Women have it more rough than men due to pregnancy, menopause, being woken up by their partner rustling in bed, and even worrying about problems will cause problems sleeping.
You can find many articles stating that “science says this” but there are no true science-backed studies that really prove this, other than some coincidental evidence.
For the sake of this article, let’s say that both men and women need different amounts of sleep on an individual level. This means that each person is different, therefore needs a different amount of sleep.
Sleep is important to athletic performance in the gym for many reasons:
- You have more work output
- You recover faster
- You have more focus and clarity
The Science of Sleep
So what happens when we go to sleep? The first stop in sleepville is going to be a light sleep stage. As soon as you lay down, start relaxing, and dosing off, you may or may not go fully to sleep at this point.
Many people seem to stay in this stage of sleep where we never really completely fall asleep. We call this the threshold stage of sleep and this type is not adequate sleep for recovery.
If you’re fortunate enough to get past this, you’ll enter the first stage of sleep. Your body temperature will lower, your breathing slows down, and your heart rate will drop. This type of sleep is not a deep sleep and is also not sufficient for recovery.
Next, the second stage of sleep comes in. Your body will fall much deeper asleep and will continue to do so as it enters the deepest stage of sleeping. This stage is the rapid eye movement (REM) stage and it can take anywhere from one to two hours to reach.
This stage of sleep is where dreams come from. Your body will cycle through all of these sleep levels multiple times a night. This is also why we sometimes wake up easily.
So what does this mean for you?
Your performance in and out of the gym and your health relies on getting a proper amount of good sleep.
Strength athletes and regular gym goers come into the gym without proper sleep and get injured and fight through plateaus. The lack of recovery time takes a toll on your performance.
This is why taking a deload every once in a while is important to your overall health and progress in the gym.
So since we know that sleep plays a more important role in our abilities in the gym, let’s take a look at some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep.
Tips For A More Restful Sleep
Creating good sleeping habits will foster regular deep sleep. The more of these you start doing, the better of a chance you will have at achieving a restful night’s sleep.
Please note that it is important to try different things to see what works for you instead of blindly following a blanketed statement. Find what works for you and run with it.
1.) Start wrapping up your nights earlier.
Allow yourself an hour at night to unwind so quit thinking about the bills that are due. You want to have a fair amount of time that your body can naturally relax and unwind.
2.) Create a regular schedule.
Creating a regular sleep rhythm will pay off greatly. The better you stay on top of your sleep schedule, the less time you will spend trying to “make up for lost sleep.” This means you will stay in a well-rested state and perform better.
Your body will naturally wind down at the same time every day, you will be able to wake up without an alarm blasting in your ear, and you will have an overall better performance due to being fully rested.
3.) Create a great sleeping environment.
The darker, cooler, and more quiet the room, the better. Get some nice curtains that completely block any light, keep your windows closed so you don’t hear every leaf rustle, and keep the temperature cooler so that you can get the best sleep possible.
4.) Avoid caffeine at night.
Caffeine affects everyone differently. Some people can drink it all day and fall asleep at the drop of a hat, while others get the jitters and can’t sleep.
For most people, caffeine can last for around 5 hours before effects wear off. It would be ideal to cut caffeine out around 5 hours before bed to ensure no interruptions in your precious sleep.
Wrapping It Up
There are a lot of people who deal with sleep issues and if you are one of these people, go see a professional. Not being able to get enough sleep will negatively impact every part of your life and keep you from achieving your dreams.
Try these tips out and see what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to try something completely different in your quest for some restful sleep – if you sleep better with punk rock music on, go for it.