The Most Neglected Aspect of Fitness . . . SLEEP

That’s it? Yes, it sounds like common sense, but why does it seem to be the most disregarded aspects of health these days?

People always want to know,

“What can I take for more energy?” or “What supplements can help my focus and energy throughout the day, I’m so tired all the time!”

My first question to them is always “well… how much sleep are you getting on average per night?” It seems like an obvious correlation, right? If you are tired, it means you need sleep. But apparently, it’s not so obvious because we live in an increasingly fast-paced world . The answer I get is always get is “Oh gosh maybe 5-6 hours a night… if I’m lucky.”

There’s your answer, SLEEP is what you can take for more energy.

Supplements are GREAT when you miss maybe one, or even a couple full nights of good quality rest. They’ll get you through a couple days until you can get caught up, but it’s not a quick fix and definitely not a way of life. There is no substitute for a good night’s rest.

Another thing to consider is that some people need more sleep than others, and everyone is different. Some can function just fine on an average of 6-7 hours a night (without naps), and other people need up to 9 or more to be fully functional. So the “8 hour rule” is just a general rule of thumb really because everyone is different and you will have to find out what is necessary for your body. Since most everyone works a 40-hr work week, and napping usually isn’t an option, getting the sleep you need at night is essential for optimal health and function.

From my own personal experience – if I don’t get more than 7 hours a night, you can just count me out for that day, but really closer to 8 is even better for me. If I’m in contest prep, I feel best with over 8 hours. If I’m not in prep, I still need over 7 to feel my best.

In my early stages of competing, I always thought that it was just a lack of caloric intake or overworking myself in the gym as to why I was so tired and drained at work all day, but in all actuality, those may have been contributing factors but it was primarily a lack of sleep that contributed to my zombie-like feeling throughout each day.

I know most of the population has trouble sleeping, so here are a few things that can help, outside of the typical tips usually advised.

  1.  Don’t fight it – just go to bed. When you first start getting drowsy and your eye lids start to droop, just let yourself go to bed. People usually try to fight it off so they can get one last thing done, and that one last thing usually ends up being over an hour later… let your body fall asleep when it wants to and then you can wake up refreshed to finish whatever tasks you need to.
  2.  Don’t eat a heavy meal right before bed. You want your body to wind down and rest, not still be working 100mph to digest and/or burn the food you just ate before laying down.
  3.  Don’t lay in bed, GET UP. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes or so, then don’t just lay there in bed staring at the ceiling, or worse – playing on your phone. Get up, go read or watch TV on the couch for a few minutes until you feel like you can try to fall asleep again. You want to keep your bed associated with sleep – so if you lay in bed doing other things like watching TV, playing on social media or scrolling through Pinterest, your body and mind won’t associate your bed with sleep only. You can still do all those things, just do them somewhere else – on the couch in the living room, in a chair in your room, etc.
  4. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, and PRAY. When I start feeling anxious about everything I have to do or start worrying about upcoming potential problems, I either read a plan in my Bible App, read an insightful book,  or just pray… REALLY pray – it eases my mind by reminding me of the big picture of life and resets my perspective. Half the time I fall asleep before I even get to the “amen.”
  5. Other Helpful Remedies to Take Before Bed

Magnesium or ZMA

Chamomile Tea

Any Other “Sleepy Time” Teas


Leave a Reply