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The A - Z of a Fitter You; Q is for...

This follows on from the previous post about looking after yourself.

I know when we're younger, sleep is the first thing to brush aside. Late nights, early starts, lost weekends. You feel invincible and indefatigable .And then you turn 30 and... Well it's just not quite as easy. You might still want to party and get drunk, but the hangovers and hang over of the weekend get harder to shift. If you've burnt the candle at both ends you discover it has an effect on your health, fitness, sanity and more. Christ that was a dull start wasn't. Anyway, the point is, don't underestimate the power of sleep. Professional bodybuilders actively build extra sleep and naps into their routines, as they know that is when the body repairs itself and grows bigger. Now as much as I'd like to, I can't authorise afternoon naps - you'll have to ask your line manager for that - but improving your sleep is only a good thing. Here's what to try: - Blackout curtains/blinds - reduce the light in your bedroom - Open a window - keep the air circulating (unless there are some noisy fucking birds in the tree right outside) - Turn the heating down/off and/or use a thinner duvet - the body naturally cools during sleep, so keeping it cool during the night will help to keep you under - Don't use your phone (or any device) before bed - the blue light it emits stimulates the release of cortisol in your brain - this is the stress hormone that wakes you up - If your bedfellow snores, get them to wear nose strips that gently open their nasal passages - Try a carby meal - e.g. a small bowl of porridge - a few hours before bed; this has been proven to help release serotonin and tryptophan, two sleep positive hormones - Start a specifiic bed time routine, and stick to it for a week - the body finds routine very reassuring and in turn, relaxing Some people also swear by camomile tea, lavender oil/sprays and Horlicks (WHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO) or warm milk. For me, not looking at my phone beforehand and not drinking alcohol during the week really helps my sleep (although my sleep can be hilariously bad at times due to a crazy brain that won't switch off). Hope you catch a few more Zzzzz. Best wishes, Matt "40 winks" Boyles

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