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Improving Sleep Quality for Maximum Gains

January 16th, 2019


Sleep is obviously important for our overall health, recovery, muscle growth and above all else our mental well-being.

There are many reasons why we don’t sleep, most of which are associated with elevated stress levels and the hormones our bodies release as a result. These hormones, primarily cortisol, released by the adrenal glands, have a habit of keeping us awake at night, and that familiar feeling of staring at the ceiling and being physically tired, but mentally still very active.

Is Cortisol the Enemy?

Cortisol released at the right time and in the right amounts has profound benefits for fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. However, elevated cortisol levels have massive implications for other hormones in the body, creating imbalances that cause a raft of conditions from excessive weight gain to muscle wasting. This is the exact opposite of what we want as active humans.

There are many things that can cause stress in the sports/exercise world, such as heavy training volumes, competition related mental stress and dietary deficiencies due to either poor nutrition or phases of weight loss.

There are a few things we can do to supplement our diet that will help you get the extra Zzzzz’s you need to grow and recover.

One of the most common combinations of ingredients used in sleep aids is that of zinc, magnesium and aspartate.

Zinc and magnesium are elements responsible for thousands of complex chemical reactions which promote normal function. They are lost during periods of activity through sweat and increased metabolic demands. This leads to deficiency, one of the symptoms of which being interrupted sleep. Both zinc and magnesium are involved in reactions that maintain normal levels of cortisol, with magnesium, in particular, showing that supplementation has profound effects on reducing excessive cortisol levels.

Several studies into supplementing with ZMA have demonstrated a reduction in cortisol levels and improved sleeping function. Aspartate has been proposed to help to maintain testosterone levels that may be decreased during high training volumes and periods of stress, which may aid recovery, particularly during sleep.

Scorpion supplements ZMax, which comes in two refreshing flavours: Lemon and Grape, both of which have been formulated using the amounts and ratios comparable to ZMA studies that have demonstrated improved sleep and recovery. With the equivalent of 1.75mg of elemental magnesium as gluconate and citrate and 114mg of Zinc as gluconate.

Taken 30-60 minutes before bedtime this may help you drop off and improve the overall quality of sleep.  We recommend giving ZMAX a go as the first port of call to help with sleep.

Added glycine, glutamine, taurine and prickly pear and Vitamins add to the nutritional support of the ZMax formulation.

Check it out here:



How else can you improve sleep beside supplementing with ZMax?

These Top ten sleep tips according to Harvard Medical School make a great starting point to optimising your sleep.

  1. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule and routine.Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. A set sleep routine will “train” you to fall asleep and wake up more easily.
  2. Use the bed only for sleep and sex.
  3. Cut down on caffeine.For some people, a single cup of coffee in the morning means a sleepless night. Caffeine can also increase the need to urinate during the night.
  4. Be physically active.Regular aerobic exercise like walking, running, or swimming provides three important sleep benefits: you’ll fall asleep faster, attain a higher percentage of restorative deep sleep, and awaken less often during the night.
  5. Limit daytime naps.Prolonged napping can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and prevent you from feeling tired enough to fall asleep.
  6. If you use tobacco in any form, quit.Nicotine makes it harder to fall asleep.
  7. Use alcohol cautiously.Alcohol depresses the nervous system, so a nightcap may help some people fall asleep. But this effect disappears after a few hours and may even lead to waking up throughout the night. Alcohol can also worsen snoring and other sleep breathing problems.
  8. Improve your sleep surroundings.Remove the television, telephone, and any other devices from the bedroom. This reinforces the idea that this room is meant for sleeping. An ideal environment is quiet, dark, and relatively cool, with a comfortable bed and minimal clutter.
  9. If you’re still awake after about 20 minutes in bed,get up and read awhile to relax. Otherwise, you’ll set yourself up for tossing and turning.
  10. Try to avoid taking sleeping pills.If you do take a prescription sleep medicine, work with your doctor to use it effectively and for as short a time as possible.