The Surprising Supplement that Increases Performance
What if I told you there was a supplement that is scientifically proven to increase your sports performance? Plus, it sharpens mental clarity, builds your immunity, decreases stress, and helps with weight loss. What if I told you the supplement was readily available and inexpensive? Would you run to your local drugstore? Would you look to see if it’s on Amazon Prime? How much would you pay for it?
There’s something that does all this and more, but you don’t have to buy it! It’s free and it doesn’t come in a capsule. It’s in your bedroom right now, and it’s called sleep. Good sleep and recovery can help you with speed, balance, endurance, and accuracy. These directly relate to your sports performance in and outside of the gym. In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, or if the sleep is of poor quality, your body can show signs of overtraining syndrome.
When Performance Suffers
According to the National Sleep Foundation, loss of sleep directly results in a decline of your ability to make quick and correct decisions. Sleep is also how your body recovers after activity, and without it, your body cannot recover properly. Scientists have found that people who chronically have less-than-ideal amounts of sleep have impaired performance throughout the day.
A lack of sleep can also hurt your body’s ability to fight infections and inflammation. With our busy lives and hectic schedules, it can be hard to give your body the time it needs to rest. And no one likes to get sick. Sleep won’t necessarily prevent illness, but it will help you fight infections, and when you do get sick, you’ll bounce back quicker.
As if losses in performance and mental clarity weren’t bad enough, scientists have also shown that people with lower amounts of sleep lost less body fat and retained less lean muscle than those on the same diet with ample quality sleep. Those with less sleep also had more problems with feeling hungry during the day. You work out to stay healthy. Sleep is a powerful tool to help you achieve those goals.
How much sleep is enough sleep?
Guidelines for adults aged 26-64 is seven to nine hours of quality sleep. Pay attention to your own cues for what is right for you. Are you alert and feeling good with seven hours of sleep, or are you dragging throughout the day? Different people do better with different amounts of sleep.
Tips for Getting Regular Quality Sleep
- Choose a time to go to bed before you expect to fall asleep. People who say they are going to bed at 11 p.m., for example, may not actually be in bed and ready to fall asleep until 11:30 p.m. or later, after their evening routine. Instead, time your evening routine. Then choose a time to start it before you plan to go to sleep.
- Once you have picked that time, try to be as consistent as you can. Yes, even on the weekends. A consistent schedule will help your brain know when it’s time to wind down and prepare for rest.
- Be careful about your use of caffeine and alcohol before bed. Caffeine boosts blood pressure and heart rate, and it arouses your nervous system. While its noticeable effects peak in 15-45 minutes, caffeine can stay in your system for five hours or more. Alcohol can be sneaky. While it can help you initially fall asleep faster, it reduces deep REM sleep, which is needed for quality sleep.
- Do your best to make your bedroom comfortable. Temperature, sounds, light, and the bedding itself should be adjusted as much as possible to promote good sleep. Other alternatives include using a sleep mask, light-blocking curtains, or earplugs at night.
- If you have continual problems with sleep or insomnia, speak to your doctor or health care practitioner.
As a member of LVAC, we know you care about your health. Whether you are using the weight-training equipment, the cardio equipment, or hitting one of our many classes, we know you make your health a priority. Getting enough sleep every night will help you hit your goals and will make you feel and perform your best!