To Sleep or Not to Sleep?

By Eric Martinez

March. 20. 2011

Tossing and turning, sweating while sleeping, constantly waking up for no apparent reason, too much on your mind, too much stress, insomnia, etc. All of these occurrences happen to many of us while sleeping, it’s very frustrating and we don’t know why they occur. All we want is some good quality sleep so we can be productive the next day and not constantly be depending on energy drinks and caffeine to keep us going all day long. I usually have trouble sleeping myself, there are days when I get great sleep and other days when I feel like a zombie in the morning, it sucks. If you are trying to make significant gains in muscle mass in the gym or lose weight, you will never see results without adequate sleep in your routine. Remember you build muscle in your sleep and recovery, not in the gym. Regardless, the human body and our Central Nervous System need quality sleep in order to be productive as possible. I am going to be discussing some reasons why we may not be getting adequate sleep and some ways that may help us in the future.

Quality of sleep is key, just because you sleep 8-10 hrs doesn’t necessarily mean that you got quality sleep. Quality sleep is when you don’t wake up throughout the night. I understand that sleep is difficult to get these days, we live in a 24 hour cycle due to our cultures, jobs, family, and how fast paced we live. Regardless, we have to find the time to get a good nights’ sleep. Our body and mind has to rest, plain and simple. The number one factor in not sleeping, in my opinion is “STRESS”. We all know what stress is and how it affects our lives; too much stress eventually creates the stress hormone known as “CORTISOL”. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal gland; it is released in response to stress and a low level of blood glucocorticoids. Its primary job is to increase blood sugar through glucose, suppress the immune system, and aid fat into protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Many people don’t realize the severity Cortisol can cause to the human body; physiologically you can’t sleep when it’s in your system. So try managing your stress by taking deep breaths, short meditation sessions, read in a quiet area, and think positive even when it’s hard to.

Our bodies are based on normal Physiological types of rhythms. What I mean by that exactly is we have to have a consistent sleep pattern in the same environment every night. Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, this allows your brain to get in a consistent pattern. Another vital asset to sleep is exercise; you need to move around as much as possible. Good toned muscle is metabolically active and going to calm you down and help you sleep at night. I would try and avoid anything stimulating two hours before bedtime; computer, TV, music, ect. All of these things are electric radiation, which may affect the brain and cause you not to sleep well. Try these before going to bed instead; reading, meditating, dim the lights. You also can try using other alternatives, such as supplements: Melatonin, chamomile tea, and milk peptides are all proven to work. Melatonin especially helps calm Cortisol and runs the brain to a consistent calm rhythm.

Lack of sleep can lead to some health risk factors such as; heart disease, stroke, depression, mood disorders, stress related skin disorders, demensia, and cognitive decline. I truly understand how hard it is these days to get adequate sleep every night, but we must make the effort to do so for our health. I see so many people just drinking energy drinks and coffee all the time to keep themselves going, and most of the time it’s all psychological. By drinking these drinks you trigger your mind into thinking it’s going to give you energy. Yet they don’t even realize how many different hidden sugars are in the energy drinks, I mean they don’t taste good for no reason people. The overall message I am trying to get out here is to try and get quality sleep and try different alternatives to get that sleep that you need. You want to wake up every morning feeling like a million bucks and pumped for the day. I promise it will benefit you in the long run. Peace and god bless everyone.