The most effective supplement of all, the cheapest to buy, it's naturally occurring, and it's the most underutilized. Sleep has been undervalued and overlooked by our society as something that is for the weak of mind or lazy individual. We prioritize watching our favorite TV series or movie instead of getting to bed on time.
Just 6 hours of sleep or less per night can have extremely detrimental effects on our bodies. From health risks to impaired cognitive function to compromised fitness health, sleep has a hand in all of these areas. Yet we go to other means of stimulation, supplementation, or medication to help us function better. Caffeine, nicotine, health supplements, exogenous hormones, anxiety and depression medication are all examples of things we spend money on to help optimize our bodies throughout our day. We take these substances often overlooking the health risks associated with some of them.
If you want to lose body fat or build muscle, sleep is better than any supplement you can buy. It produces a hormonal response that mediates hunger, stress, fat storage, and muscle growth. Essentially when you lack sleep you're more hungry, you're more stressed out, you store more fat, and you build less muscle.
If you struggle to get to sleep at night, here are several strategies you can implement to help get you to sleep quicker with better quality sleep.
1. No caffeine after noon Caffeine has a half-life of 8 hours! Meaning only half of it is out of your system after 8 hours.
2. Eliminate Blue Light Blue light is great during the day when you need to stay awake, however we're not meant to have blue light at night when we're meant to sleep. Blue light is everywhere, in our phones, TVs, most light sources. Blue light stops your body from producing melatonin, a neurotransmitter that facilitates sleep.
3. Improve your sleep environment Remove everything from your room that emits any form of light or sound. If you can't remove your phone, then set it to night mode where it reduces the blue light in the screen.
4. Create a sleep routine Having a consistent time you go to sleep, making sure you calm your mind, and reducing light input in the last hour before bed is essential in getting good sleep. Taking a hot bath, meditating, reading a physical book can help relax your mind before getting into bed.
5. Reducing stress Stress can make it difficult for your brain to shut off. Dealing with and managing your stress can have a significant impact on your sleep quality. Journaling, meditating, physical activity, talking to a therapist are strategies you can implement to help you manage your stress levels.
6. Exercise Exercise has a profound effect on sleep. Not only does it produce a hormonal response that increases feel good neurotransmitters, but it also fatigues your body helping you get to sleep.
"Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep." - Mesut Brazany