You get home from working a ten hour shift. You have a shower, grab a quick bite to eat, and then get ready for bed. You hit the bed like a ton of bricks and it is lights out. You wake up feeling good but then your wife complains about your snoring.

    Why is sleep so important? Rest, relaxation, and good sleep is crucial for good health. Sleep and rest serve to balance the activities of a full day and to replenish the nervous system. Human beings have created their own electricity and through the invention of the light bulb we are no longer going to bed and waking up with the sun. The muscles and the mind need rest in order to be at optimal health.

    All trainers should know that true muscle growth comes from when you rest. When you weight train, the muscle is torn, so in order for the muscle to rebuild and become stronger, it needs to rest. When you sleep and rest, that is when true muscle growth happens.

    If a person has an overactive mind, sleeping throughout the night can be a challenge. Using sleeping pills is never a good idea as this disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycle. Physical activity(there is a big surprise) and even taking a warm bath can help sleeplessness by improving circulation. Another alternative is to use deep-breathing techniques as this can relieve tension and encourages sleep.

    I have an overactive mind so I use melatonin or drink some camomile tea before bedtime. I do this only when needed as I try to follow my body’s own natural sleep pattern. If I do take caffeine, it is taken before 7 am in the morning. Caffeine has a half-life of 6 hours. So if you take 200mg at 10am, it will not leave your system until 10pm at night.

    Try to aim for at least 49-55 hours of sleep each week. Some people can function on 5-6 hours a sleep a night, but 7-8 hours is the optimal number.

    Here are a few tips for a good night’s sleep.

    1. Avoid napping throughout the day. If you do have a nap, do not go into deep REM. This will throw off your body’s natural clock.

    2. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, spicy, heavy, and sugary foods four to six hours before bedtime.

    3. Keep your bedroom dark. Use heavy drapes or blinds as light can disrupt your body’s internal clock.

    4. Keep up a regular exercise schedule. Avoid exercise several hours before bedtime.

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    All in good health,

    Paul Nam

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