04/05/2014 12:30 BST | Updated 04/07/2014 06:59 BST

Sleep - the Missing Fitness Link

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Train as hard as you like but without decent sleep you will not get the results you want.

Sleep allows our bodies to recover, helps combat stress, build energy levels, balance emotional wellbeing and cortisol levels.

Poor sleep mainly effects testosterone production. For men you build less muscle, burn less fat and recover from exercise slower whilst for women it effect hormone levels and energy production.

Research has shown a reduction in growth hormone release with poor sleep levels. Again this adversely effects the production of lean muscle and the quality and regeneration of cell walls and how we combat the signs of ageing.

Some believe that poor sleep can be combated by exercise or that more stimulants can help achieve a great workout even when you are tired. But, without quality recovery, the results of the workout are very limited. You might cope for a couple of nights but beyond that it will physically effect you.

Sleep Pattern Diagnostics

For many people going to bed and falling asleep is not that easy. But the pattern of sleep can give us an indicator of what is affecting it.

a) Wake between 12-1am. If you find you wake only a couple of hours after going to bed it could be that you are having blood glucose drops and this overly quick energy drop disturbs sleep. The answer here is to try and add more long release carbohydrates to your evening meal.

b) Wake between 2-3am. If you wake between these hours it is normally linked to detoxification problems and addressing liver detoxification is quite often the answer.

c) Waking between 3-5am is often linked to stress and the adrenal system. This is very often when the working mind reaches for a pen and paper to jot some thoughts down. There are many stress resolvers worth exploring from meditation to adrenal Support nutrients that will help sleep through this period.

Circadian Rhythms

Assisting your natural sleep patterns is vitally important to achieve a quality sleep. Simple things like sleeping in a dark room and that natural day light in the morning wakes you up naturally to get the hormone response required to establish a daily rhythm. Using the alarm clocks that gradually light the room up are proving a popular and effective way of doing this.

Sleep is best achieved when the body is cold and there is a need to slow down. So cool your room down a couple of hours before bed. Contrary to popular belief a warm bath is not conducive to a good night's sleep because it raises your core temperature and slows down your need to sleep.

Good sleep patterns are vital to good health, the ability to manage stress and feel energise. If you suffer from poor sleep, try and find the answer because it will benefit everything you do.