Reduce pre-workout supplement sleep problems

How do you get to sleep normally while taking pre-workout supplements? Some people do not experience any problems, but for a lot of people preworkout supplements messes with their sleep. The easy way to avoid this of course is to just skip the pre-workout altogether, but I know from my own experience how tough this can be. Because pre-workout supplements actually works, you CAN feel a difference. I learned to go without them, but this post will focus more on what you can do if you cannot live without your pre-workout.

If you are having trouble sleeping while taking pre-workout supplements, then first of all realize that you are compromising your sleep and as far as sleep concerns you are starting from a dug out hole. But know that you take your pre-workout, what can you do to optimize your sleep and perhaps counteract some of the negatives from the pre-workout.

You can of course start by trying different types of pre-workout to see if any of them has less negative effect on your sleep. I have detailed my experiences with different types here(which may be where you came from) Trouble sleeping because of pre-workout supplements?. Further more experience with the minimum dose you need in order to feel the effect of the supplement, this may be less than what is actually recommended on the supplement itself.

Studies has shown that coffee after just 1 pm can affect your sleep. As most pre-workout supplements are way stronger than a cup of coffee, this may be something to have in mind. Can you train earlier or perhaps ingest your pre-workout earlier to avoid problems?

Then work on your sleep hygiene. As you are compromised on some areas, work to improve on others. Good sleep hygiene includes the following:

  • Pitch black room
  • Absolute silence
  • Cold or at least not too hot
  • Go to sleep and wake up same time everyday
  • Avoid light from pc’s, mobile devices, tv’s etc. before bedtime
  • Shower before bed
  • Trigger point massage
  • Read fiction before falling asleep

One of the problems during summer is you need to have your windows open to keep the temperature down, which potentially gives problems with light and noise. First pitch black room – is literally pitch black. If you can’t get pitch black with curtains, consider using a night mask – that helped me. To cancel out most of the noise from having open windows, I sleep with earplugs as well.

Your body likes regularities. You probably get hungry just about the same times everyday(of course determined by what you eat), and the same goes for sleep. If you get into a good pattern of going to sleep and waking up the same time everyday, then both falling asleep and getting up will be a lot easier.

If you have to work in front of your computer at night, then install f.lux. But really consider skipping all devices an hour before going to sleep and have as little light as possible as this automatically provokes tiredness.

The shower before bed can really help, but should you go with hot or cold? My experience is that if you shower at least an hour before going to bed, the cold shower can work. But if you shower just before going to bed I would go for the hot shower, since the cooling of the body afterwards again provokes tiredness.

As Kelly Starrett said somewhere; “How do you feel like after getting a massage; like hitting somebody?” And of course not, you are relaxed and tired. You can replicate some of this yourself. Get a tennis ball or anything similar, lay on the floor and roll around on it; on your back, thighs, standing on it and massage the underside of your feet etc. You are not aiming to do any specific changes, just roll around for 5-10 minutes, this may help you relax.

Lastly, if you read in bed before falling asleep, which I would strongly encourage, then keep your reading to something that won’t give you to much to think about. Which means this is not the time to read your business books, Feymans lectures on physics or any of the sort. Read fiction or anything you can consume without having to think too much about the content afterwards. You are aiming to calm your mind, not fuel it with ideas.

These were some tips on how you might reduce your sleep problems when taking pre-workout supplements. They really helped me, so I hope they can do the same for you. Feel free to add any of your own tips in the comments.

Advertisements

Correct use of pre workout supplements, habits and sleep

There is an increasing focus on supplements, not just in the fitness industry but across all genres and levels of working out. You have got to give credit to the marketers of these supplement manufactures. They have made it mainstream for even girls to use supplements as part of their daily workout scheme. They are successfully pushing the mantra, that in order to be fit you have to add all these supplements to your workout regimen. But in the midst of all this supplementation, are we missing some important points, only to make the companies happier by buying more of their stuff, totally missing the key word “supplements”  – I was.

There are lots of products to focus on, but for this piece I will concentrate on pre workout supplements. I will by no means say that they lack effect – if only they did, then the problem would not be as profound. Lots and lots of these really offer a potent effect and make a real impact on your focus and energy-levels. They CAN have their rightful place.

But it starts to be a problem, when you cannot train without having one of these pre workout drinks. If all your workouts are fueled by these. You will probably, like I did, tell yourself, “why risks not having a great workout”; and thereby justify your repeated use.

Pre workout supplements are great for when you feel tired, are in need of that extra energy and really needs to perform. But it should NOT be your default.

I had this habit of 45 minutes prior to my workout, I would stop working and mix a pre workout shake. Then I would read t-nation or any other training/fitness site for 20-30 minutes with some high energy music in the background – all in order to get myself into the right mood and mindset for working out. This was, and is highly effective – but I would even do this on days where I was not tired at all. Mix pre workout, music, read – go. It had become part of a habit and ritual.

Apart from increasing the amount I spent on pre workout supplements, it also kept giving me problems with sleep. As I have written in a prior article, pre workout supplements can very well mess with your sleep patterns. And judging by the amount of people who read that one, it seems to be a quite widespread problem. One very, very obvious solution to this problem – that I for a very long time totally missed – is to not take the pre workout supplements in the first place. Use them when needed, but avoid having them as the default.

Take a step back, look at your use of supplements and reconsider your use, with total awareness. You can be in a period of high workload and therefore in need of the extra energy, but then remember to back of once the load is gone. We humans are very habitual, be aware of it and make conscious choices instead.

Trouble sleeping because of pre-workout supplements?

One of the most important factors behind a good workout, is energy and a focused mind. One of the most important factors behind muscle growth and enhanced performance is adequate sleep. But could your pursuit of a good workout be limiting your ability to get a good nights sleep?

I can’t really recall when I first experimented with pre-workout supplements, but I have this incredibly clear picture of the first time my training partner, at the time, had a scoop. We sat home at my place, he had stopped by to pick me up, on the way to the gym, and he was literally not feeling like going to the gym. Long day at work, didn’t feel like he’d being run over by a bus, but more like he had pushed a bus – with flat tires – over a sand dune. He really needed some energy if he was going to do anything else, than sleep on a bench, at the gym. I had just got my hands on some pre-workout drink and said he should try it. With quite some skepticism, he tried it. We put on some good energetic music, I packed my bag and we went on our way to the gym.

At first it did not seem as though it had helped all that much, but after like 20 minutes into the workout, he was like reborn and filled with energy. He almost seemed like the slightly drunk version of himself – in a good way. Cheering on people, screaming out the last reps and psyching himself for every lift. Yes pre-workout supplements do work. They of course bring energy as promised, but even more profound is the mental focus, you just do what you came for; no messing around.

Now this is not going to be a post only highlighting the benefits of pre-workout supplements, but actually more look at one of the adverse effects of some of them. I have noticed that even though 2 brands may deliver somewhat the same results in the gym, they still can be very different in the adverse effects department. My philosophy has always been to find the supplement that gives the most of the effects I DO want and the least of the effects I do NOT want – the positives should be as high as possible with minimal downsides.

At one point I wanted to try something different than the product I had used for some time then. I switched to this(at that time) new NO-Xplode that promised – as all supplements do – even greater performance, pump etc. etc. The effects was as good and perhaps a little better, than the other product I had used up until that point. But what was most certainly different, was the effect it had on my ability to fall asleep. I have never been good at falling asleep, but even though I had taken a scoop of this at 15-16 in the afternoon, my body still felt almost restless at 23 at night. There was something in this product, that just would not get burned during my workouts, which left me energized and restless, when I needed to be relaxed. I abandoned it.

After a few months I tried it once more, but with the exact same results. I asked some of my friends who used it if they has any similar problems – but none of them had. So it might be something unique for me, but I am sure not using that brand anymore.

After NO-Xplode I went for Biotest Power Drive, which is also a very old product by now. This product really gives the same mental focus as the others but without the same boost in energy. Not to say it does not deliver energy – it does, but not as profound as the others. If I had to train in the evening and needed some pre-workout supplement, this would be my favorite choice or if you are really bothered by pre-workout sleep problems – this could be the solution.

But the product I keep returning to is Super Charge by Labrada Nutrition. It gives me all the energy and mental focus I could ever need. And most importantly it does not affect my sleep. It is not something I would use just before going to bed, but having a serving at 17.30 does not mess with my sleep in any way. I feel like it fuels my workout but does not leave me restless or artificially energized once the workout is done – just what I look for in a pre-workout supplement.

As stated earlier I have never been that good at falling asleep, so my case may be rather unique, but if you experience some of the same symptoms, I would consider trying to look at your supplement list or change your training schedule. If you are not having a good night sleep you are not giving your body the needed rest, to reap the benefits of those hard earned hours in the gym!

I am very skeptical at both taking sleeping pills and taking supplements to counteract the effect of other supplements, but if you can’t live without your pre-workout buzz, then melatonin might be worth a try. It is a natural hormone that is released in the evening signaling your body to start getting tired and preparing for sleep. You take a little dose before heading to bed and it may help you fall asleep. But it’s one of those supplements where more is not better. I bought these NOW Foods Melatonin 3mg pills and they initially did not help me get to sleep easier, on the other hand they made me feel slightly hangover the day after. But after some reading I tried separating the pills and only taking half dose – this worked way better, both in terms of falling asleep and no side-effects the day after. Therefore my recommendation would be these Now Foods Melatonin 1mg as you then can start with 1 mg and feel the effect.

And finally remember this; that pre-workout supplements are just that – supplements – don’t use them everytime. It is quite possible to have an amazing workout without them. They should not be your default choice.

*Edit if you want more tips on how to reduce the negative effect of pre-workout supplements on your sleep, look here: Reduce pre-workout sleep problems