A night of healthy sleep is extremely important for athletes to surpass themselves and improve mental and physical performance. Anyone who sleeps poorly at night will not be able to call up their full potential. In addition to exercise and a balanced, healthy diet, sleep is one of the most important cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately for many people, it falls short. Some people cannot fall asleep – others cannot sleep properly. Instead of being awake and rested in the morning, they feel unconcentrated, tired, and listless. A night of healthy sleep is important to regenerate better and recharge your batteries.
Why A Healthy Sleep Is Important
How much sleep you need depends primarily on your age and your level of activity. Most people get along well with six to seven hours of sleep. Athletes can also need significantly more sleep due to their activity. However, the number of hours is not decisive for a night of healthy sleep. Much more important is the quality of sleep to be able to recover optimally at night.
Although our body regenerates during sleep, this mainly happens in the deep sleep and REM phases. In these phases, the body can best recover from hard training, process stimuli and impulses, build muscles and carry out regeneration and repair processes. When it comes to improving mental and physical performance, there is nothing like a good night’s sleep. Anyone who sleeps well at night will be able to use their intellectual and motor skills to the fullest to be successful at work, in everyday life, and sports.
How You Can Improve The Quality Of Your Sleep
By alternating between day and night, we follow a specific rhythm influenced by light and darkness and determined by our hormonal system. If this circadian rhythm gets mixed up, our sleep quality also suffers. The two most important hormones that ideally ensure a healthy sleep are cortisol and melatonin.
Cortisol is a stress hormone activated by light, while the sleep hormone melatonin is released after dark. Many factors can affect sleep. Shift workers and frequent fliers are often affected by sleep disorders. Different sleeping times, light sources in the bedroom, alcohol, or exercise can disrupt the natural sleep rhythm and lead to sleep problems.
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Disruptive Factors That Affect Sleep
To be able to sleep better, these disruptive factors should be eliminated as far as possible. You can do this by
- Go to bed at the same time every evening (preferably between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.),
- Turn off possible light sources in the bedroom,
- Darken the bedroom with curtains,
- Ban the TV and smartphone from the bedroom,
- Do not exercise too late,
- Do not drink alcohol or coffee before going to bed,
- Develop a sleep routine (such as yoga or meditation)
Healthy Sleep With Supplements
Those who sleep poorly at night want nothing more than to be able to sleep through the night finally. Athletes quickly notice that poor sleep hurts mental and physical performance in the long term when they can no longer make any progress in training and competition.
Dietary supplements can be of great help in this regard to stimulate the release of the sleep hormone melatonin and to bring the circadian rhythm back into harmony. This includes the sleep hormone melatonin and other valuable ingredients and plant extracts that can promote sleep.
Ashwagandha is a plant that belongs to the nightshade family. In Ayurvedic medicine, the plant has been used as a natural remedy for over 3,000 years because of its calming and sleep-promoting properties.
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter found in the central nervous system that relaxes the body. The task of GABA is to slow down or stop the stimuli arriving in the brain, in particular the stress responses. If GABA is also supplied through the diet, the effect of the neurotransmitter can be increased.
Hops are known to many people as a component of beer – but they are also often drunk as tea or taken in the form of an extract as a dietary supplement. Since the 18th century, hops have been known as a natural sleeping and sedative that can be equated with the sleep hormone melatonin.
Valerian is often combined with hops to increase the sleep-inducing effect and improve the quality of sleep. As a plant extract, it is therefore contained in many dietary supplements for healthy sleep. Two other valuable ingredients that can contribute to a healthy sleep are lemon balm and passionflower – two medicinal plants that have a calming effect.
How Do I Take Dietary Supplements?
Some dietary supplements contain melatonin – others contain melatonin and GABA in combination with different plant extracts. To improve sleep sustainably, the food supplements should be taken over a longer period, preferably before going to bed.
Sleep problems are not uncommon these days. In the long term, they not only cause tiredness and poor concentration – physical performance also suffers as a result. To get a grip on sleep disorders, it is primarily important to switch off the disruptive factors and ensure a balanced day-night rhythm. In addition, nutritional supplements containing melatonin, GABA, Ashwagandha, valerian, or hops can improve the quality of sleep.