If there’s one critical element of any health enhancing protocol that far too often goes overlooked, sleep would be it.
It’s absolutely imperative that you are paying attention to your sleep habits on a nightly basis because if you aren’t, that may just be the thing to prevent you from seeing the results you’re hoping for.
Let’s walk you through the main points to know about sleep and why it’s so critical to your success.
Why You Sleep…
First, let’s address why you sleep in the first place. The time you spend sleeping is going to be the time when your body goes into recovery mode, recovering all the damage that has taken place to the body over the course of the day.
Sleep is also a time to rest & refresh yourself, so you awaken ready to take on what the day brings. Basically, it’s recharging your batteries so to speak, something that we humans must do every 24 hour period.
The brain detoxifies itself while you are sleeping, so the more sleep you get, the better you are going to be able to function on a day to day basis.
How Much Sleep You Need…
The first thing that you need to address is how much sleep you need. For most people, 7-9 hours will be the sweet spot.
Some people need more sleep, some less, so you’ll need to find where you feel best. If you have some time off work, try going to bed at the same time each night & waking up without an alarm.
By day 5-7, the time you naturally wake up – however long you’ve slept for, should be about how much sleep you need each night.
Each night that you spend sleeping, you will transition through various stages of sleep, light sleep, deep sleep & REM sleep, which is the most important stage of sleep & where the body is in the deep recovery zone & also where hormonal concentrations are restored back to normal.
If you are having trouble reaching REM sleep, you can also sleep for an extended amount of time but still never wake up feeling rested.
This is why if you are constantly getting up throughout the night, you may not feel so well in the morning. Your body never got a chance to hit REM sleep because of the period of time it takes the get into once onset of sleep has occurred.
The Impacts Of Not Enough Sleep…
So now let’s talk a little about the impacts of not getting enough sleep.
As far as bodyweight is concerned, there are big issues here. Lack of sleep will cause your body to secrete more cortisol, which can encourage muscle tissue breakdown & also promote the accumulation of stomach fat – clearly not what you want.
Additionally, it’ll also slow down the metabolic rate, making it harder to lose fat over time.
Lack of sleep is also going to impact your focus & concentration level the next day. This means reduced performance at work & play but could also mean a greater injury risk in the gym due to a decrease in brain efficiency & form.
If you aren’t sleeping enough, or are suffering from a sleep related condition such as sleep apnea you’ll also be increasing your risk of a number of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, as found one study published in the Current Problems in Cardiology journal.
Furthermore, sleep is the primary time that the body is going to be releasing growth hormone & growth hormone is important for a wide number of functions.
First, it’s essential for helping with proper muscle development from your workout sessions.
Additionally, it’ll also help to keep you leaner, enhancing the muscle to fat ratio on our body.
Growth hormone can also help keep you looking younger so is a way to ward off the hands of time.
If you aren’t sleeping enough, you aren’t getting the growth hormone release that would provide these anti-aging benefits.
Growth hormone is also going to help you make a speedier recovery from your workout sessions, so may assist in allowing you to get back into the gym again to train harder – sooner!
So as you can see, there are many reasons you must be making sure you prioritise sleep. It’s not only important for your workout results, but your health & overall well-being as well.
Promoting Higher Quality Sleep…
To help achieve a higher quality sleep (meaning you may need less total duration of sleep overall), you need to make sure your sleep is of highest quality.
Some of the key ways to promote a more restful sleep include:
- Making sure all electronic devices are turned off – even the smallest of noise or lights can prevent your brain from getting into a full restful sleep
- Making sure it’s pitch black in the room by using black-out blinds
- Reducing the temperature of the room slightly to promote a deeper sleep
- Keeping the bedroom a TV free zone & only using it for sleep or sexual related activities
- Going to bed at the same time each night regardless of whether it’s a weeknight or weekend
If you can follow these tips, you should be able to maximize your sleep quality and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
To Your Best Health
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