Written by:
Coach Jeff Hermann, USAW
Lead Strength Coach

Sleep is vital for great workouts!  (Image from thesportinmind.com)

Sleep is vital for great workouts!
(Image from thesportinmind.com)

If there is one thing I can’t stress the importance of enough, It is sleep. Good old fashioned snoozing is the single most important aspect to recovery and healthy bodily function in general. Making sure you are getting adequate sleep every night can have dramatic effects on your progress whether it be in the gym, fat loss, or all around better mood and stress management. Making sure you are waking up properly from this muscle-building, recovery cocoon we call sleep is equally important.

There are multiple stages of sleep that our body enters in throughout the night. The first stage is the lighter of the stages. Have you ever fallen asleep but could still hear what was going on around you or possibly started dreaming about it? That’s this 1st stage. As you can imagine the stages go deeper to where your consciousness is completely shut down and your body goes into a sort of hibernation mode (where all the GAINZ take place). What we are concerned with is not only getting to all of the stages, but awaking from them correctly too.

Unless your room is a dungeon, you should have 1 or 2 windows in it. Uncovering at least 1 of them can be one of the most important tools in ensuring you wake up feeling rested and ready to go. The reason being, the natural sunlight in the morning. This natural light releases hormones in our bodies that tell the brain its time to wake up. The body then goes through its system of preparing the body to awaken. Without natural light, our body is not going to be able to tell the difference between 2am and 8am. If you seem to always wake up feeling groggy and exhausted, this could be why.

I myself started using this technique a few months back and I am still taken back by how dramatically different my mornings are. My alarm is basically set only for emergency now, because of my body naturally waking me up at the same time each day. I also got rid of the “snooze” habit on my alarm as well. This also minor change, had a big impact on my mornings too.
We covered the fact that the light alerts our bodies when it is time to wake up. This also brings us back to that 1st stage we talked about. The reason the snooze button is so problematic, is because waking up and immediately trying to go back to sleep can start the cycles all over again. This of course causing you to possibly wake up from your 2nd alarm in a deep sleep cycle, causing the grogginess and fatigue I mentioned earlier.

As hard as it may be to not savor those last 10 minutes of sleep, just know they aren’t making much of a difference to your rest anyways. Let that sunlight in, and forget the snooze option ever existed. Now go sleep like you mean it!
– Coach Jeff


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