Derrick Ames finishes his last set of long cable lat pulls -- 12 reps with the 300 pound stack! And panting heavily, but feeling satisfied with his overall workout performance, and with the totally "worked" feeling in his back, he takes a final slug of water. Then 10 minutes later, sensing he's fully stabilized, he zips up his sweats, and comfortably exits the gym for his ride back home.
On his way, he notices how decidedly relaxed his whole body is after his workout. And how peaceful he feels, mentally and emotionally. He flips his radio on to some easy listening tunes, and feeling a soothing endorphin calmness, seemingly "flows" back to his home.
As he enters his house, he still feels the peaceful glow of his post workout physical sensations. He enters his kitchen and blends himself a healthy protein shake, downs it with his supplements, then he ambles up one flight of stairs to his room.
He hops into the shower and indulges himself under the water's soothing, physically relaxing and luxuriating heat. Then, feeling a deep and stirring inward calm after he towels off, he sits upon the corner of his bed and reads his newest positive thinking, success encouraging book. And after finishing the latest chapter, he sets his alarm for 7:45, says his prayers, and proceeds to "hit the sack"
As he turns off the light and nestles himself comfortably under his covers, he senses his whole body letting loose even more. And, as he then closes his eyelids down, within 8 minutes Derrick has drifted off into a deeply restful slumber.
He rests deeply and soundly all night long, slumbering as if he's totally "let go" mentally and physically. The quality of his sleep is soothing, deep and continual throughout the entire night.
And as the alarm buzzer goes off at 7:45 the next morning, Derrick easily, progressively evolves toward full consciousness -- feeling the refreshed, easy calmness which can - and does - only accompany a slumber as restful as has been his.
He rolls out of bed, readying himself to start his new day. And he feels his body somewhat "tight" from last evening's workout. But it's a rejuvenated, refreshed, recuperated "tightness", the type he's recognized is connected with full recovery and muscular growth.
Now fully alert, and feeling thoroughly rested and refreshed, he dresses, and does 10 minutes of success visualization/affirmation. Then, it's off to work and engaging what he eagerly anticipates will be a decidedly productive, personally advancing day!
HIS QUALITY OF SLEEP HAS PAVED THE WAY
FOR PHYSICAL GROWTH AND PROGRESS
Now, as you've read Derrick's scenario, I'm sure you yourself wholly identified with his easy slumber "drift off", then sound, restful sleep period. Hey, that's probably what you personally experience night after night... Uh, right?
Well, maybe not exactly... Uh, right? Chances are that many times (perhaps much more than you'd like to experience) the quality of your sleep is not that deep, soothing, restful type. And when you awaken in the morning, instead of enjoying that refreshing calm (physically and mentally) you experience a mental logginess and/or fogginess, and physically incomplete restfulness and recuperation -- the overall sensation which makes you "wish" you could sleep for several more hours so you could "really" come to get the rest your mind - and muscles - need.
Then, you find your entire day seems harder than usual, even though you're doing things you do day in and day out. And by the time you hit the gym, you feel a sense of energy reduction as well as diminished sharpness and overall physical power.
So, you do the best you can while in the gym, but you know - right from the first set - it's not the quality of effort you're capable of, nor will it stimulate the kinds of improvements you've experienced invariably ensue when you enter your gym feeling well rested, wholly physically restored, and emotionally at your peak!
And because as you already know (and if you don't, you're about to) how essential sleeping well, deeply and consistently is to muscular recuperation and growth, the following will provide you numerous factors you can easily apply to help foster quality slumber, so when your head hits the pillow it's really "lights out" until you awaken the next morning.
Regardless of the nature for your sleeplessness and/or poor sleep quality, by applying the following sleep encouraging factors, you'll be able to fall asleep easily, and slumber deeply, night after restful night.
First, let's understand a bit more deeply the relationship with, and affect sleeping well consistently has upon your bodybuilding success.
SLEEP AND MUSCULAR INCREASE
THOUGH THEY MAY OCCUPY OPPOSITE
ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM, EACH DEPENDS ON EACH OTHER!
It may sound ironic that sleep has such a major influence on bodybuilding success, but the regenerative processes the body undergoes during this period have direct bearing on physical efficiency -- from increases in muscle size and strength, to effects upon actual training performance.
Understand that even though you may blast your muscles feverishly in the gym, research indicates it's during your sleep period that the muscle tissues restore, rejuvenate and... grow! So as well as promoting the replenishment of your energy reserves, sleep is directly linked to increased muscular size, performance and contractibility.
To verify the importance of sleep in relation to muscular development, think for a moment about a workout you had when you didn't sleep well (or enough) the night before. Aside from possible concentration lapses and a decreased pump (muscular "flatness" as opposed to engorgement while training), you no doubt experienced reduced stamina and control in the muscles you worked.
In fact, so important is the relationship of sleep to continued physique development and improvement, John Balik asked me to devise a "How To Sleep Deeply And Peacefully" checkpoint list so serious bodybuilders could enjoy deep, sound, natural slumber night after night.
So use the upcoming Tips for Easy Restful Sleep section to make your daily sleep period fully relaxing as well as maximally instrumental in promoting muscular growth.
STRATEGIES FOR SLEEPING DEEPLY AND PEACEFULLY, ALL NIGHT LONG
Feeling alert, rejuvenated and charged with energy upon awakening enables you to tackle your day with maximum effectiveness, and to generate peak contraction intensity when you train. To experience this refreshed feeling of power, it's essential you enjoy a deep, soothing quality of sleep all night long -- night after restful night.
Individual requirements may vary, but as a rule of thumb, 7-8 hours of restful, uninhibited slumber will enable your body and mind to rebuild, repair and regenerate to a degree where you'll feel refreshed and dynamically alive -- ready to "get up and go" upon awakening.
These following sleep enhancement tips will enable you to slumber soundly throughout the entire night, and use your sleep period to promote the healthy strengthening and development of your muscularity. Read each carefully, then apply it as you either sense you need to, or know you must.
FACTORS ENCOURAGING DEEPLY RESTFUL SLUMBER
A) Make Your Bedroom As Relaxing An Environment As Possible -- a firm mattress, a comfortable pillow and comforter, fresh clean sheets and pillowcases which make you feel soothed and at ease. You might want to hang pictures of relaxing, natural environments on your wall (ocean, lush green mountain, sunset, waterfall, rolling meadows, snow capped peaks, etc.) to help suggest peace and serenity to your subconscious mind.
If at all possible, keep your business paperwork and any other work requiring intense concentrated effort outside the room where you sleep. To as great a degree as possible, allow your mind to associate your bedroom solely with rest, relaxation and peaceful sleep.
B) Keep your bedroom dark, quiet and keep the temperature at a moderately cool setting (60-70? F) -- but be sure to keep yourself warm and cozy. If necessary use eye shades, ear plugs or extra blankets.
C) Don't take naps. Save all your sleep for bedtime. (The exception to this is if you're on a grueling pre-contest cycle training twice per day. Here, if you need to, nap between workouts as you feel you need to.)
D) Make a ritual of getting ready for bed. Brush your teeth, check door locks, check the thermostat, read spiritual inspirational books, visualize success for the following day, etc.
E) Get into bed to sleep only when you can't stay awake any longer. Don't force yourself into bed merely because it's getting late.
F) Awaken at the same time every day no matter how little you sleep.
G) One half hour before you get into bed to sleep, ingest liquids which sooth and relax your nervous system. A cup of warm non-fat milk or "sleepytime" herb tea mixture (containing valerian, hops, chamomile, and passion flower) will help you wind down and feel at ease and mellow -- a state which allows you to fall asleep much more quickly and easily.
H) Avoid all caffeine beverages at least three full hours before your bedtime -- cola, coffee, regular tea, and chocolate drinks are laced with caffeine which is a stimulant and will promote feeling "wired", quite the opposite sensation from the sleep inducing serenity you desire.
I) Eat lightly, if at all, as your pre-planned bedtime approaches. Going to sleep with a full stomach aggravates relaxation because the brain receives digestion signals. These signals activate bodily functioning - and as bedtime nears, you should try to de-activate as much as possible.
J) Nicotine stimulates the nervous system and may retard relaxation and sleep for about 30-45 minutes. If you smoke, and hopefully you don't, don't light up in bed, or in the middle of the night. (Also, smoking in bed is the leading cause of house fires.)
K) One hour before bed, indulge in a luxuriating hot shower or bath to relax muscles and dissipate tension.
L) As much as possible, prepare for tomorrow the night before. Organize the following day so you eliminate the feeling of unfinished business, and get a "jump" on tomorrow's demands.
M) Never procrastinate. Delayed tasks are rarely easier and lay "heavy" on your mind; which is the reason procrastination has been linked with sleep problems.
N) At bedtime, write down anything you want to or need to remember. This frees the mind and lets you "drift off" easily and peacefully.
O) Try using a self-hypnosis sleep inducing cassette. Numerous selections are available dealing with experiencing restful slumber specifically. And these audio tapes are directly designed to relax and sooth the mind, body and nervous system so natural sleep occurs effortlessly -- and remains constant.
P) Practice emotional clearing -- forgive and release the hurts, frustrations and stumbling blocks of your day before they sink down into subconscious levels and come back to "haunt" you. Throw your emotional "garbage" out by letting go and forgiving, and establishing an inner feeling of peace, poise and harmony with yourself, and with life around you.
Q) Practice progressive body part relaxation, (starting from your toes, going in through your entire body right on up to your scalp, relax and allow each muscle to turn totally loose, and slacken), and practice visualization of easy peaceful scenes when you get into bed to promote drifting off into a deep, natural, peaceful slumber.
R) Pretend - and sense - you're a small child being gently rocked to sleep in the most cozy, secure, safe and loving environment possible.
S) Thank God for your blessings - your health, physical functioning, sharp functional mind, etc. and lovingly naturally presume all these - and more - will be there for you upon awakening.
T) Imagine yourself stuffing all the cares, woes and/or "troubles" you may be experiencing into a large canvas sack. Then imagine a large red helium filled balloon tied to the closed end of the sack just floats up, up and away with this sack (and feel the accompanying release of having your "cares and woes" placed outside of you, then taken away.)
SUBCONSCIOUS AFFIRMATION FOR EASING INTO SLEEP
The following affirmation, repeated slowly, quietly, and lovingly prior to sleep, will help you relax your body and mind, and establish a foundation of harmony and balance so natural slumber comes easily.
[I've used similar variations of this for years, and no matter what situation or concern I've had to address during the day, this process always helps me to fall asleep easily, and rest deeply throughout the night.]
"And so now, my toes are relaxed... my ankles are relaxed... my abdominal muscles are relaxed... my heart and lungs are relaxed... my hands and arms are relaxed... my neck is relaxed... my brain is relaxed... my face is relaxed... my eyes are relaxed -- my whole mind, body and spirit are relaxed, soothed and serene."
"I fully, freely forgive and release everyone, and wish for them the same harmony, health, peace and goodness I desire for myself. I am at peace, I am poised, serene, still and calm. I rest in security and in easy peace. A great wave of soothing comfort now progressively rolls over me, and a great calm deeply quiets my whole being."
"I expect the best and know that I have the right to all good things in life. I wrap myself in the mantle of positive expectancy and assuredness, and drift off to sleep filled with good will for all. Throughout the night peace and calmness remains with me, and in the morning I shall be filled with life, energy, and a vibrant, positive glow."
"I sleep in peace and awake in joy. Everything is O.K. because I'm O.K. - And so I now let go and naturally, continually drift into easy, restful slumber."
Sleeping deeply is a natural, and important part of your continued bodybuilding success. So go ahead and use the sections presented above to promote a full restful, peaceful night's sleep... for you!
Note from hypnotist / hypnotherapist Chris Cady:
Nationally prominent self help author, seminar leader, and personal change specialist, Peter C. Siegel was America's foremost sports and peak performance hypnotherapist. Unfortunately Peter has passed away but his work and his spirit live on.
You can review his acclaimed self help - personal success development - mega-confidence building programs at www.incrediblechange.com, or you can call 775-425-5263 to order programs or speak with his protege, sports hypnotherapist Chris Cady
The unique, results guaranteed assurance Siegel attaches to each of his programs…continues to stand the test of time!