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6 Ways To Sleep Yourself Stronger

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You’ve sunk protein shakes, binged on Berocca and bought so much from Holland & Barrett that you’re now its fourth largest investor. So why are you still not smashing it in the gym? The answer might just be found between your gaping jaws – as you yawn your way through another cardio session. With 50 per cent of us getting under six hours sleep a night – not to mention conversation being off limits in many offices until three coffees have been imbibed – it’s little wonder that a lack of rest can derail our fitness plans. No longer! Sleep physiologist (yep, that’s a job) Dr Guy Meadows is on hand to explain precisely how you can snooze yourself into shape.

Don’t work out before bed

“The increase of your adrenaline levels, heart rate and body temperature after late-night exercising may make it more difficult for you to sleep,” says Dr Meadows. “It’s recommended that you avoid exercise within three hours of bedtime so you have adequate time to wind down.”

Swerve the snooze button

“If you get enough sleep on a regular basis and go to bed and get up at roughly the same time most days, you’re more than likely to wake up naturally – without needing an alarm – and feel totally refreshed and ready for your day. Continuously hitting the snooze button means you drift in and out of light sleep, which leaves you feeling even more tired than if you had just woken up the first time.”

Swap your run to work for one home instead

“The best time to exercise is between 3pm and 6pm due to the natural rise in body temperature preparing your body to move. Conversely the worst time to exercise is immediately on awakening, when the body is still warming up, or late in the evening when your body naturally cools in preparation for sleep.”

Plan your sleep as you would a workout

“Sleep is the most underrated performance enhancer. Research has shown that during sleep your brain and body get to work de-stressing your worries, repairing your heart and reenergising you ready to perform at your best the next day. Making sleep a priority in your life can significantly boost your daytime performance.”

Try naps

“Boost your mental and physical daytime performance with a 10 to 30-minute power nap. A good amount of sleep will ensure that your body is able to complete the necessary cycles of repair and recovery to achieve muscle growth. Your body produces more growth hormone and melatonin when you sleep, and both of these play a huge role in the reproduction and regeneration of cells within the body.”

Take work stresses to bed

“‘Sleep on it’ is a well-known phrase, but it is only recently that scientists have demonstrated that the brain actually solves daytime problems while asleep. It does this by sifting through all of your past experience, looking for connections that could be helpful in solving your current problems.”

Dr Guy Meadows, founder of The Sleep School, has teamed up with Bensons For Beds to help the nation get a great night’s sleep naturally

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