Sleep regulation plays a central role in my functions both as a fitness instructor and fitness enthusiast. I try to follow a strict sleep regimen by getting to bed at 9pm and waking up 4am even on weekends. This has reinforced my circadian rhythm and I hardly need an alarm to get up in the morning. I am more alert when I wake up and thankfully I don’t struggle with sleep inertia(temptation to hit the snooze button several times in row)
One of the benefits of regimented sleep is hormone regulation. I am able to maintain high testosterone levels which contribute to a higher muscle mass and a lower body fat composition. With better sleep I tend to recover much faster after my workouts which means I can fit in more HIIT sessions in a week.
I feel more motivated to tackle the day and my mental acuity is heightened when I get a full nights rest. The experience is not merely subjective. I recently downloaded the Welltory app from the App Store and with it I have been able to measure my heart rate variability upon waking. On days that I did not get extensive REM sleep my readings came in quite low. This was a predictor of low energy and higher stress levels throughout the day.
Factors that hampered my sleep were the consumption of caffeine or pre workout supplements after 4pm and something as simple as a distracting light source eg. phone or outdoor light source. Sleep deprivation also affected my appetite the following day. I was more prone to consuming sugary treats and succumbing to my junk food cravings.
Some of the passive strategies I have implemented to address insomnia in the past are meditation, listening to classical music( increase in alpha wave brain activity) and sleeping on my back.
In addition to a balanced diet, hydration and regular high intensity exercise I would definitely put sleep as a pivotal pillar that one would be remiss to take for granted in pursuit of ones physique goals.