T Nation

The Importance Of Sleep

Most everyone knows that adequate sleep is just as much an intregal part of reaching fitness goals as smart training and nutrition.

It is also clear that different people need different amounts to maintain optimum body and brain function. Given the opportunity to sleep undisturbed, and wake up when the body is ready, people seem to range between 5.5 and 8.5 hours a night.

My question is two fold:

  1. What percentage of this undisturbed sleep is absolutely necessary to maintain optimum brain and body function? In other words, is 7.5 hours of sleep per night enough for someone who would typically sleep 8.25 hours per night, given the opportunity? Does feeling tired mean that the body didn’t get the rest it absolutely needed?

  2. I have found power naps to be extremely helpful on the days where I wasn’t able to get the sleep I wanted. Even if I didn’t actually sleep, just the action of closing my eyes for 10 minutes seems to recharge the batteries.
    Any other tips on how to recoup some of that lost rest?
    Any supps you guys have used that have proven to be helpful?

Finally, maybe somebody can relate to this situation and has some advice: I have been with my girlfriend for about a year now, and I still often find it difficult to get a decent nights rest when we spend the night together. For no other reason than that I am a light sleeper. Is there any way to train myself to become a heavier sleeper?

Try training for speed endurance (producing as much lactic acid during the workout you can tolerate). this seems to help me sleep heavily.

RJ Elsing wrote a 2-part article on this:

part 1
http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=282sleep2

part 2
http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=283sleep2

PP,

melatonin helps(if used occasionally)…i have a friend who swears by 5HTP, also.

i used to need only 7 hours a niht, but working 3rd shift for about 6 months made me need around 9 hours of sleep. weird…i am going back to 2nd shift, now, so we’ll see what happens.

thanks for the advice and articles!

Love to hear more, so keep em coming.

[quote]PrincePaul wrote:
Is there any way to train myself to become a heavier sleeper?

[/quote]

White noise. I am also a light sleeper…I also don’t sleep much…but I do have one of those white noise “rain machine” clocks that has the different sound features like rainforest, rain, thunder etc. I only use “rain” and it helps. My mind is usually racing at night and this blocks it out.

Infomercials for Bowflex knock me out in no time.

prof.x, how much does one of those run and where’d you pick it up? I average about 5.5-6.5

[quote]WhiteFlash wrote:
prof.x, how much does one of those run and where’d you pick it up? I average about 5.5-6.5[/quote]

I got it at one of those places that usually go with your girl as she picks out useless crap to go in her apartment…like pottery, woven baskets and fake flowers. I forgot the name of the place but there are different ones. Hell, you might be able to pick it up at Walmart. It is like an alarm clock only with these added features. I almost can’t sleep without it now.


WhiteFlash, this is it…and it runs for like 35 bucks. I found it online here also:
http://www.gadgetbabe.com/showpage.asp?itemid=6682&source=ntrcs

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:
PP,

melatonin helps(if used occasionally)…i have a friend who swears by 5HTP, also.
[/quote]

yeah, melatonin is the shit. i used 10mg a night for 2 years and woke up wide awake after six hours about 3 minutes before my alarm would sound. but im not taking it now because hormone supplementation ain’t the way i wanna do things.

5htp is really good, but it can be over done. the breakdown is that 5htp is a form of tryptophan (amino acid that makes you tired after thanksgiving dinner) that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and converts into serotonin which converts into melatonin which tells your body it’s nighttime and time to snooze. a problem with 5htp, i think, is that if someone is not deficient in serotonin yet is deficient in another neurotransmitter (dopamine maybe) supplementing 5htp will make the imbalance even more unbalanced.

if you wanna take 5htp then start with 50 mg before bed and gradually build up until you feel like you need no more. don’t go higher than 600 mg though. if you take too much you just feel sick and puke (300 mg is generally the highest non-supervised, non-theraputic dose recommended tho).

if you wanna take melatonin then start with 3 mg before bed and work up from there if you need. you may feel groggy if you wake up to pee or something after six hours from taking melatonin.

I used to be a big fan of melatonin. Then I started to hear all kinds of horror stories about it lowering LH and it messing with T levels in general. Can anyone confirm/deny any of this?

[quote]analog_kid wrote:
I used to be a big fan of melatonin. Then I started to hear all kinds of horror stories about it lowering LH and it messing with T levels in general. Can anyone confirm/deny any of this?[/quote]

i can’t confirm nor deny, but there is a possibility that melatonin negatively affected some of my other hormones while i used it.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
WhiteFlash, this is it…and it runs for like 35 bucks. I found it online here also:
http://www.gadgetbabe.com/showpage.asp?itemid=6682&source=ntrcs

[/quote]
prof. X

thanks for the tip. This thing looks like it could come in handy. Plus, because it’s just fruity enough, there’s the added benefit that I can pretend it’s a gift for my girl!

[quote]wufwugy wrote:
cycobushmaster wrote:
PP,

melatonin helps(if used occasionally)…i have a friend who swears by 5HTP, also.

yeah, melatonin is the shit. i used 10mg a night for 2 years and woke up wide awake after six hours about 3 minutes before my alarm would sound. but im not taking it now because hormone supplementation ain’t the way i wanna do things.

5htp is really good, but it can be over done. the breakdown is that 5htp is a form of tryptophan (amino acid that makes you tired after thanksgiving dinner) that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and converts into serotonin which converts into melatonin which tells your body it’s nighttime and time to snooze. a problem with 5htp, i think, is that if someone is not deficient in serotonin yet is deficient in another neurotransmitter (dopamine maybe) supplementing 5htp will make the imbalance even more unbalanced.

if you wanna take 5htp then start with 50 mg before bed and gradually build up until you feel like you need no more. don’t go higher than 600 mg though. if you take too much you just feel sick and puke (300 mg is generally the highest non-supervised, non-theraputic dose recommended tho).

if you wanna take melatonin then start with 3 mg before bed and work up from there if you need. you may feel groggy if you wake up to pee or something after six hours from taking melatonin.[/quote]

Wuf,
I found this quote in the T-mag article, “The Big Sleep, Part 2 Snooze Your Way to Bigger Muscles and Less Fat!”
by JR Elsing:

“although melatonin supplements work well in elderly, melatonin-deficient patients, there’s little evidence supporting their efficacy among others.”

possible placebo effect for you?