Sleep and Hydration
Two of the most overlooked, beneficial things you can do for health and performance is getting quality sleep and ensuring you are properly hydrated. They may not be the most fancy things to work on but they are the foundation for everything else.
Too often people come to me and ask all these questions about things they are not even close to being ready for. For example they will come in and ask if we can do a salivary cortisol test because they think they have adrenal fatigue. When I ask some things about their lifestyle, like how well do they sleep, they are getting about 5 hours per night at best. Well we don’t need a test to know why you feel tired and burnt out. Get your sleep and lifestyle in order first and then after you have done that for a long period of time, you may want to invest in some testing. Just because you test something doesn’t give you the solution to your problem. If your results come back and say you are screwed up then you are still going to have to address your sleep, nutrition, and lifestyle choices anyway.
The benefits of sleep are enormous but people don’t realise or want to realise it because they don’t want to change their crappy habits of sitting up all night on Facebook or watching T.V.
Here are some benefits of sleep well:
Improve insulin sensitivity
Improve hormone function
Improve memory and learning
Improve athletic performance including speed and reaction time
Decrease body fat levels
When it comes to hydration I hear all sorts of ridiculous things like “I wish I could drink more water” When I ask why they can’t, I commonly hear “oh, I don’t like the taste”. So you can drink water but you choose not to. Their faces go blank.
There are many negative things associated with dehydration such as:
Decrease in strength and power
Problems with cartilage and the inter-vertebral discs
Inflammatory issues and chronic pain
Asthma and allergies
Optimal athletic performance cannot be achieved with sub-optimal levels of hydration since all the body's functions depend on adequate fluid levels. Avoiding dehydration will allow you to maintain peak power levels during repeated anaerobic efforts.
Greater hydration will allow you to train harder and longer, and there is evidence that dehydration causes cardiovascular stress as well as deterioration in central nervous system function.
Stop looking for extreme reasons why you aren’t achieving your goals. For 90% of people out there you are looking for an excuse. You have to have your foundation sorted and do it consistently for a long period of time, not for a week or two. It has to be an everyday thing. If you can’t do this, whether you have a gene mutation or some shit like that doesn’t really matter. Sure it may be having an impact but if you’re not sleeping or you are chronically dehydrated then I don’t think it matters. Half the shit that gets asked are things you work on when you have been doing all these things correctly for years. Then when you plateau you can begin to look into more complicated issues to further progress.
Stop looking for a quick fix, work hard, and be consistent with your sleep, hydration, nutrition, and other lifestyle choices.