So if you’re anything like me, you’ve had those nights when you just cant seem to fall asleep.  Nights of rolling around for hours that no amount of zzquil and cooking channel infomercials can rectify.  Two nights ago I was blessed to once again be staring at the ceiling unable to turn my mind off from the work of that day.  Which got me thinking… what are some natural remedies to try and tackle this issue? And why do our bodies need adequate rest in order to perform at an optimal level?

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First lets talk sleep.  As an athlete why do we need sleep?

The Importance Of Sleep For Athletes.  Its more than just energy levels and saving money on Starbucks throughout the day.  Yes, alertness and an ability to not pass out in traffic is a perk, but for me it’s all about growth.  As an athlete, whether you’re a beginner or a professional, rest is essential for our growth.  As we tear our bodies down through workouts, lifting, cardio, etc. we need to allow time for repair or we run into risk factors such as overtraining and eventual injury.

What makes us grow?

Enter, Human Growth Hormone.  HGH for short.  Now upon hearing this phrase one of two things typically occurs.  Either you jump up and volunteer to be the next guy to stick a needle and become Ronnie Coleman.  Which I don’t recommend.  That’s actually quite a bad idea…yea, don’t do that.  OR you run for the hills for fear of catching the “steroids” and experiencing roid rage as your hair falls out.  I don’t recommend that either.

What is HGH?

Without getting too technical, your body produces HGH in the pituitary gland and is responsible for growth and cell regeneration.  Gains in muscle mass as well as bone density are impossible without HGH.  This hormone, while released at various times, is largely released at night during the deepest of our sleep cycles.  In order for us to capitalize on our natural levels of this hormone we need adequate sleep to allow for optimal repair.  This is absolutely essential to total body composition and a healthier you!

Natural ways to sleep better?

Melatonin – Occurs naturally in our bodies but can be supplemented to help aid in the process of falling asleep and experiencing better sleep.

Lavender – Research shows that the scent of lavender can help ease stress and allow our minds to relax which in turn aids in falling asleep.

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Valerian– Has recently become popular as a way to improve sleep quality in test trial subjects.

Have any other sleep solutions? Would love to hear them! Shoot me an email at matt@goodguy.fitness