Sleep for ultimate recovery and muscle growth

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June 18, 2015
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July 8, 2015


 In today’s Fitness Minute Parker Lennon ACSM Personal Trainer gives his take on Sleep. Sometimes underemphasized sleep is the way your body recovers, the way it rebuilds, the way you are able to make gains from working out. Sleep helps mental clarity, which helps you stay focused on your goals. Sleep also lowers stress and anxiety from the daily grind, and your workouts. Checkout the video below!

Sleep for muscle recover and growth

Sleep is essential for recovery and muscle growth. Sleep is the ultimate factor in your exercise gains because your body is repair mode, utilizing this time to secret growth hormone that actively recovers the muscles you broke down the day before.

“During the physically restorative phases of non-REM deep sleep, your blood pressure drops and your breathing becomes deeper and slower. Your brain is resting with very little activity, so the blood supply available to your muscles increases, delivering extra amounts of oxygen and nutrients which facilitate their healing and growth. Muscles and tissues are rejuvenated and new cells are regenerated during this phase of sleep.”
-Becky Miller,

How much sleep do you need?
8 hours is considered “normal” sleep. You are considered to be sleep deprived if you sleep four hours or less per night, while . The National Sleep Foundation’s sleep guidelines recommend 7-9 hours for the average adult. While a late night partying or studying will probably do little harm, the cumulative effect of poor sleep will have a negative impact on your muscles. (In other words that weekend trip to Vegas kills your gains bro!)

Having trouble sleeping?

  1. Eat carbohydrate snacks such as whole grain crackers before bedtime. Also include foods rich in vitamin B6, found in wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and bananas, which enhances the body’s conversion of tryptophan. 
  2. The mineral magnesium is a natural sedative. Deficiency of magnesium can result in difficulty sleeping. Foods rich in magnesium are legumes and seeds, dark leafy green vegetables, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, and whole grains.
  3. Chamomile is an herb that may help to reduce muscle tension, soothe digestion, and reduce anxiety which may help induce sleep. Hops, passionflower, and ashwagandha are other herbs that are often used for insomnia.
  4. Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) is a tea and herbal supplement that is said to relieve anxiety and calm the nerves.
  5. Melatonin supplements are widely recommended for various sleep conditions. A naturally-occurring hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle in the brain, melatonin is produced from serotonin when exposure to light decreases at night.

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