THE SLEEP CYCLE, KEY TO MUSCLE GROWTH
While we spend about a third of our lives asleep, many of us think that it is a passive state where our body suspends normal activities, but it is not.
Few know that it is actually the perfect time for the body to undergo repair and detoxification. Keep in mind that our body goes through different sleep cycles: The first four stages of each cycle are considered as peaceful sleep or non-rapid eye movements (NREM). The final stage is characterized by rapid eye movement (REM).
During the NREM stage, you are awake or partially awake and not in deep sleep, where your body is functioning normally, but once you switch to REM, your internal process of restoration begins. You will start to dream and feel irritated when someone tries to wake you up. REM is the stage where your body rests psychologically, your brain, bones, muscles repair and prepare for the next step. For us (fitness and bodybuilding enthusiasts) rest is the key to muscle growth and deep sleep helps increase testosterone levels. We break down muscle tissues in the gym which are therefore repaired and rebuilt while we rest. Sleep (rest) is the most important thing in your muscle building process. Now, how do we get to the REM state or do we know that we are in REM?
It is often difficult to get a good sleep, even when we fall asleep, the quality of sleep may not be sufficient. So some basic remedies to get a good sleep are:
- Take a hot bath.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and brain stimulating foods / drinks.
- Relax in the evenings and get your sleeping environment comfortable.
Supplementation can be a great help as well as a benefit for those with a busy lifestyle. The supplement is a support system, its purpose is only to supply some nutritional deficiency, not to be our main source of nutrients.
ZMA – Zinc Magnesium Aspartate is not only a testosterone booster but an important mineral with antioxidant properties critical for protein synthesis and the mechanism that leads to muscle growth. ZMA results increase strength, endurance and achieve better quality of sleep.
Athletes are often deficient in Zinc due to the loss of it through sweat during training and loss through urine and other dietary factors that may be involved. Refined sugars also lower zinc levels in the blood.
* Men should look for ZMA supplements that provide 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium and 10-11 mg of B6; no more no less.
* Women should take a dose of 20 mg zinc, 300 mg magnesium and 6-7 mg B6.
Since a full dose of ZMA is usually 3 capsules, the dosage for women can be achieved by taking 2 capsules. Taking more will never help you do more or grow more. Zinc above 30mg will make you copper deficient and magnesium above 450mg will interfere with sleep. Do not take ZMA with any food as they are poorly absorbed when consumed with food.
Take ZMA 30-60 minutes before bedtime with water and no dairy products. So: eat, train, dream and repeat.