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Sleep - The Overlooked Aspect of Bodybuilding

Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro

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Building quality lean muscle is hard enough, with the strict diet that it entails, the hours in the gym, bottles and bottles of supplements all over the place and - for those who choose - chemical enhancement. You also need to be vigilant of proper hydration, especially when performing cardio. So all of these aspects obviously take a lot of time and like the old saying goes, there aren't enough hours in the day. But all of this dedication may go to waste if you forego what may be the second most important (after diet) of this mix - sleep.

Rest and recuperation are essential because you don't grow in the gym, but rather in the bedroom. (That didn't come out perfectly, but perhaps it did... depending on your priorities.) You need to get a good amount of sleep and the number recommended is at least seven hours and preferably eight. It kind of goes like this in the game of life: you work eight hours, play for eight and sleep for eight. Us in the bodybuilding game hit the gym as part of our 'play time,' if you will, and that makes the last part of that trio so much more important.

You will begin to notice when you are not giving yourself enough time to sleep. One easy sign is your eyes - are they red, puffy and sporting bags under them? The eyes begin to droop when you are keeping them from getting enough rest. You are actually throwing off your hormone control and tissue repair when not allowing yourself deep sleep. Another tip is to gauge your hunger level. When your body is tired, the hormones that affect your urge to eat is out of whack and higher, causing you to eat more and that usually leads to snacking on the wrong foods. You will actually crave junk food when being awake too long.

The vast majority of us live on coffee and the average person drinks two cups per day. But when you are sleep deprived, that number multiplies many tines over in some cases. But that is like putting a band-aid on a bullet wound; it's barely a short term solution. You may be able to push yourself for an extra hour or so with that ninth cup of coffee, but it's better to listen to your body and get more rest so that you can go back to enjoying coffee and not needing it.

When you're tired, you easily become irritable and that leads to negative situations that you would usually fluff off. You become a moody pain in the ass and don't enjoy anything, complaining about this and that. Some folks even feel depressed when they are exhausted and that cannot be helpful in any aspect of life. It's also hard to focus when you do not sleep enough and even your regular commute behind the wheel can become difficult. Your awareness is effected and that can also lead to injuries in the gym, as well.

But perhaps the most ironic part of this is that even when you finally give yourself rest, you wake up feeling worse than you did before crashing out. You have dry mouth, a sore throat, headache and still feel groggy. This is a direct indication that you need to adjust your schedule and find the time to sleep properly, or else you'll be running in place and probably backwards.
 
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TalkAdmin

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It's a huge issue for me Joe. I just bought an Oura ring a few weeks ago and it's really made me aware of how bad my issue is. I average under 4 hours a day. It really effects me. I get short tempered and lose focus at times.

I also recently found out that my testosterone is low and sleep is probably why.

I'm working on it though. It's mostly related to my work. I often work very late. Before I had a kid I could sleep later but it's not the case now. My boy gets up at 6am so everyone gets up at 6am.

Sent from my SM-S908U1 using Tapatalk
 
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Joe Pietaro

Joe Pietaro

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It's a huge issue for Joe. I just bought an Oura ring a few weeks ago and it's really made me aware of how bad my issue is. I average under 4 hours a day. It really effects me. I get short tempered and lose focus at times.

I also recently found out that my testosterone is low and sleep is probably why.

I'm working on it though. It's mostly related to my work. I often work very late. Before I had a kid I could sleep later but it's not the case now. My boy gets up at 6am so everyone gets up at 6am.

Sent from my SM-S908U1 using Tapatalk
Four hours is way too short. It's tough to juggle stuff, trying to squeeze in a little more work when it's quiet & everyone else is asleep. But then your mornng is effected or you oversleep. I've been tryin g to get to bed between 11 and 12 and get up early (around 7) to go to the gym.
 
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I know Joe. I don't ever oversleep but I sure would like too.

I'm hoping to get some medication from doctor at some point to help. I can go to bed early but I just lie awake thing about everything I have to do. It's rough man.
 

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