Train. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
Having focused on training and good eating most of my life, I recently started paying more attention to the rest component. It may be because I’m older and it is taking my body longer to recover, but I’d like to think it is also me getting smarter.
I used to think attaining the physique I want, that 60% was eating, 20% training, 10% resting, and 10% stretching.
I am now of the opinion that my resting component needs to be about 25%.
This means I need not only to rest more often but also to look at the quality of my rest. Regularly tracking and analysing my sleep revealed that even though I’m averaging about 7 hours of sleep every night, I am only achieving between 30 and 50 minutes of deep sleep, which is not good. As our bodies enter into the non-REM deep sleep stage, our pituitary glands release a shot of growth hormone that stimulates tissue growth and muscle repair. This means that not enough sleep causes a sharp decline in growth hormone secretion. Other effects of not getting deep enough sleep include not clearing waste from the brain, harming the immune system, increasing the risk of dementia and chronic diseases.
Sure it is different for everyone depending on your somatotype, human body shape, and physique type. However, if you can look past the numbers and consider the theory, adjusting the amount of rest between your workouts and trying and get deeper sleep may result in better meeting your physique goals.
It is important to train smart, but also to give your body a chance to recover. Proper recovery includes, among other things, a suitable diet and enough recovery time to give the body time to adapt to the muscular work to which it is subjected, as well as to improve your condition after each session.
The general rule to leave 24 hours of rest between each session does not apply systematically to all types of training. The time required between each session depends on your personal recovery capacity, on the length, intensity, and type of effort, as well as on the objective of the training you are doing.
Top tips to increase deeper sleep
- Eat more fiber and foods that aid deep sleep like fish, figs, sweet potato, tofu, and dark chocolate
- No caffeine at least 7 hours before bed
- Drink alcohol early evening
- Keep the room cool at 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius
- Use an eye mask to block out light
- Listen to 60 BPM binaural beat tunes
- Yin Yoga