It aids in protein synthesis, cognitive performance, and keeps you thin!
Check out The Ergonomics of Sleep, which I’ve quoted below. The author spent 30 years discovering that the best mattress, is NO mattress. Sleeping on a hard natural surface promotes proper posture and sleep patterns.
I discovered that the mattress is creating and/or masking the body’s current structural imbalances, impeding circulation and hampering the body from realigning itself during sleep. Sleeping on a hard surface can reshape the back and realign the body. A firm sleep surface helps the body’s relationship with gravity, with the earth. This is a therapeutic practice available to all of us, which works while we sleep.
Most ‘authorities’ seem confused and baffled. For instance the Mayo Clinic says: “If you have chronic low back pain, you may benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. Consider trying out a medium-firm mattress before you buy. However, you may find your back pain is reduced with a softer mattress.” (1)
I find these type of vague, unscientific explanations are common among the conventional health community. It really bothers me that something as vital as sleep has been so overlooked, and we are suffering as a result of bad science and soft beds. The same goes for our work lives. We submit to the “slow sit of death”, sitting in chairs, not moving for most of our lives. We should be standing and moving, yet the conventional wisdom tells you to buy an expensive posture-correcting chair so you can SIT and be DORMANT.
I slept on the floor last night, and it was FANTASTIC. I came home from the gym fairly worn out, and decided it was time to give this a try. I put a blanket on the floor, had another for a cover, and I passed right out!
I layed on my back. I found my posture was aligned and there were no specific uncomfortable pressure points. The “soft spots” on my body provided the base: my upper back/shoulders, my butt, calves, heels. The spots with the most muscle or cushioning tissue. My back and neck were allowed to comfortably and naturally arch. My spine was aligned. Eveything felt perfect.
I ususally have a difficult time falling asleep. It can often take me an hour. Not this time! I even forgot to turn off the music and I left the lights on. I was out in minutes, and dreaming. When I woke up from my nap, I was rested and felt great.
Now if you are out of shape or have no muscles to support your body properly, this may be problematic. A natural amount of back and shoulder muscle acts as a great buffer between your bones and the floor, and holds your back and body in alignment. If you have to struggle to keep your spine aligned properly, or it sags to the floor, you might want to think about lifting some heavy things every once in a while. Do some friggin deadlifts man!
Even if you don’t want to try this for a whole night, I suggest giving it a try for your next nap. Pillow not required. This helped my back a little too, since I tweaked it doing deadlifts a few weeks ago, it’s still been a little naggy sometimes. It felt great when I woke up!
I suggest trying this first, before spending a thousand dollars on some fancy sleep number bed that might make it worse.
Its key to managing stress, inflammation, and recovery. Not getting enough can literally sap your strength and mental focus, and really hurt your gains in the long run.
Testosterone is prized for its anabolic effects. Testosterone secretion occurs primarily during sleep, and coincides with REM sleep cycles. Most of your testosterone is released at night, with levels gradually dropping as the day goes on. Also, the largest secretions of GH (most of your total day’s worth) occur during the first 1-2 hours of sleep. Later in the night, GH is also correlated with REM sleep. Both GH and testosterone are potent promoters of protein synthesis. Hinder their secretion, and you’re just asking for trouble.
Chronic sleep loss also causes excessive cortisol secretion, and decreases insulin sensitivity. It also decreases leptin, and increases ghrelin. Leptin tells our brains we are not hungry, ghrelin stimulates hunger.
So, one of the best things we can do after the gym? Get your protein. Then, TAKE A NAP! I usually work out after work in the evening. After a session I chug a protein shake, pass out for a couple hours, then wake up STARVING. This is when I cook a couple pounds of meat and a bunch of veggies. I can eat my dinner, and have some meals ready for the rest of the week.
Learn to turn out all the lights an hour or so before bed, turn off the devices, light some candles, and go to sleep in the quiet dark. Having a nice relaxing pre-bed routine will ensure you get the most restful, recovery-promoting sleep possible.
Get jacked in your sleep, fool! Yeah!