Without a doubt, the lack of quality sleep and total sleep time will absolutely have a negative impact on your prep and in many cases, will prevent you from achieving your best physique. It’s something that far too many competitors tend to overlook. They see the value of diet, cardio, weight training and supplements, but when it comes to sleep, it’s that one factor that gets, well ‘slept on’.
The challenge faced is that during a prep, we do many things to get the metabolism super charged up, like training, cardio, diet and even supplementation. Over weeks and months, this can result in the body running on overdrive and finding it difficult to slow down in the evenings when it’s time to retire for the day.
When you consistently aren’t getting optimal sleep over a period of time here’s what’s happening inside your body:
- Elevated cortisol levels
- Impaired insulin sensitivity
- Poor carbohydrate tolerance
- Sluggish metabolism (decreased thyroid output)
- Adrenal fatigue
- Blunted natural growth hormone secretion
- Poor muscle recovery
- Water retention
Left untreated, over weeks these side effects will make it more and more challenging for you to drop fat and lean out as well as negatively impact muscle recovery and growth. And that’s why I’ve never been shy to promote natural calming type supplements that encourage the body to unplug and achieve a truly restful sleep that’s regenerating to your metabolism and natural hormone levels.
Here are some of my favorite natural supplements that I’d recommend when it comes to shifting your body into sleep mode:
You can purchase the items individually or find a ready-made formula that contains most or all of them. The best one I’ve found is ATP Lab’s Optisom
Many clients have had great results with a natural herbal supplement taken with a caffeine-free calming tea that includes things like chamomile, lemongrass and peppermint. There are plenty of options for this and aren’t too difficult to find.
Think of these suggestions as a ‘stage 1’ solution to difficulties with sleep. If after trying these, combined with some simple behavioral steps to induce calm don’t help, you should consult with your doctor for a follow up.