I find it funny that its so difficult to find time for sleep. It feels AMAZING, you’re miserable without it, its good for your health, it makes every other aspect of your day better, and its entirely free of charge. If this were a pill of some sort I could charge quite a bit for it, couldn’t I?
I’ve written about the importance of proper recovery before, and in the Physical Culture tab at the top of the page I express the importance of proper recovery if you have any hope of physical self-improvement. Sleep is a huge part of the recovery equation. Studies have shown that even a single night of missed sleep can give you the insulin resistance of a Type II Diabetic. Pretty scary stuff, huh? There’s also a release of growth hormone during sleep that is important for proper recovery, growth, and general health. Beyond that, if you aren’t giving yourself enough sleep each night you will realize a night and day difference in mental acuity, quickness, and general happiness.
I’ve made it a priority to get eight (at the very least seven) hours of sleep a night. I plan ahead so I’m in bed by 9:30, and I generally read for 30 minutes or so by candlelight, so as not to disturb the delicate circadian rhythm that lets me know when to sleep and when to wake.
The Alarm Clock
Getting away from the alarm clock is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I did so months ago and have never looked back. The idea is, if you fall asleep on the weekend and turn your alarm clock off, you don’t just sleep indefinitely. You generally either wake up when you’re accustomed to wake up, or after eight to nine hours after falling asleep, barring recent sleep deprivation. As long as I get to bed at a decent hour I generally know when I’ll wake up…I won’t just continue sleeping until noon.
Give it a shot, setting your alarm for the absolute latest you could wake up without being late for work, but give yourself enough sleep time to hit eight or nine hours beforehand. The point is to not need the alarm, and not having the alarm to lean on will make you more liable to get to bed early enough.
I cannot express the difference you’ll feel getting eight hours of solid sleep a night and waking naturally. When my alarm went off in the morning it was a, “Uuuuugh…dear God don’t let it be MORNING ALREADYY!!!!!” kind of feeling. Waking naturally after eight hours of sleep is more like, “And so…I have woken once again to continue my conquest of this planet.” Which is the better feeling in the morning?
And if that isn’t enough, good sleep habits keep cortisol lower and testosterone higher, helping with both staying lean and putting on muscle. Don’t waste money on supplements if you won’t put into place this simple fix.