After a hardcore workout, you’ve no doubt noticed that your body feels tired and in need of rest and recovery. Eating plays an important part of that recovery process, but in this article, we’re going to focus on the other important aspect of recovery: sleep.

Did you know that your body ONLY produces testosterone at night? It produces enough for the entire day ahead, so getting enough sleep is important when you consider that testosterone is one of the most important hormones for muscle growth. However, a good night’s sleep isn’t just about growing muscles, but it’s also about letting your body repair the damage done during the day.

When you sit, walk, stand, run, lift weights, watch TV, eat, and make any kind of movements, your muscles and bones are damaged. The micro-tears in your muscles are usually the result of exercise, repetitive motions, and strains, and your bones and joints are worn down every time you move.

At night, your movements are very limited, which gives your body the chance to repair the damage that you have done during the day. A solid night of sleep helps to ensure that your body is as close to 100% as possible when you wake up in the morning.

Sleeping in the right position–with the proper spinal and limb alignment–plays a huge role in the restoration of your body. Why is this?

  1. If you aren’t in a proper sleeping position, the quality of your sleep is affected. You may end up tossing and turning a lot in your discomfort, meaning you won’t have solid blocks of REM sleep. This, of course, can lead to many more problems, such as increased hunger pangs, fatigue, and limited energy.
  2. If you don’t sleep in the proper position, you increase the strain on your body. For example, if you sleep in a position that causes incorrect spinal alignment, you often wake up with an aching back. This can interfere with your movement throughout the day, as well as increase the risk that you will suffer injuries.

The truth is that your sleep position DOES matter! It’s essential that you sleep in a position that is not only comfortable, but which helps you to keep your spine and limbs in the proper alignment.

Here is how you SHOULD be sleeping:

  • On your back — Elevate your head with a memory foam pillow to ensure that your position retains the natural curvature of the spine and neck. Try to keep your arms by your side to avoid wear on the shoulder joints.
  • On your side –– With a pillow between your legs and a slightly thicker pillow under your head, this is the best position for sleeping thanks to the fact that it follows your spine’s natural curvature. It can help to prevent acid reflux, snoring, and sleep apnea.

It’s best not to sleep on your stomach if at all possible, as it can be bad for your back, neck, and arms.

By Andy Peloquin

Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people… Fitness has come hard for him, and he’s had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise–he does so six days a week–and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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