Wow, this ISSA book is just full of useful knowledge! I did an article on sleep not too long ago, but here is an excerpt from my personal trainer book that supports everything I wrote about in my previous post. It’s nice to know I’m on the right track with this stuff!
The amount of sleep needed is contingent on the individual’s current schedule, personal preferences, and level of daily stress. Extensive evidence points to a need for at least eight hours of sleep per night and often as much as nine or more hours in times of elevated stress. You can get by on less, but it catches up with you eventually. Try it for yourself. Go to bed earlier and get an extra hour in every night for a week. You will be quite surprised at how your alertness and vitality improve.
The midday nap, although not part of our Western cultural norms, is a widely practiced custom around the world. Your circadian rhythm begs for sleep at that time, and it is not only attributable to poor diet as is so often claimed.
Therefore, if possible and your schedule permits, take a brief 20- to 30-minute rest in the afternoon. It will make you sharper, more alert and promote faster recuperation from intense exercise. However, avoid going into the deep sleep that comes with longer rest. Short periods of rest are more productive.
Tips to Optimize Sleep
Oftentimes, it is hard to get a good night’s sleep. Even when we do fall asleep, the quality of sleep may be insufficient.
The following tips can assist you in getting that good night’s sleep:
- Avoid a pattern of sleeping 12 hours one night, then 6 the next. This is not the same as sleeping 9 hours a night. A true sleep bank does not exist. Oversleeping and under-sleeping throw off your routine.
- Avoid intense, late-night sessions. If these were done early in the day, they would aid in a good night’s sleep. But if they’re done at night, the opposite is true.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants before bed. Caffeine increase alertness, as do other stimulants. Alcohol, on the other hand, will actually help you fall asleep. But alcohol greatly disrupts REM sleep;after a night of heavy drinking, you fall asleep early…but you are not really resting.
- Avoid sleeping pills. These will create a dependency and should be a last resort.
- Get checked out for sleep apnea. Many large, muscular men have sleep apnea that can easily be treated with a CPAP device that not only will improve sleep quality and performance, but can lower blood pressure and greatly improve overall health.
- Optimize your sleeping environment. Keep your room cool and dark. Sometimes even playing soft, classical music can help you doze off into a restful bliss.
- Relax at night and avoid extreme highs and lows; neither promotes relaxation.