Okay, sleep can’t replace actual workouts – but sleep can make those workouts more effective. Your body and mind will appreciate you getting the sleep you need as it gives them a chance to recover from the stresses of the day and prepare for the next day.
As you sleep, you go through 90-minute periods of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. This is when dreams happen, even if you don’t remember them. Outside of these times, you have non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. NREM is when your body repairs and restores itself.
While you sleep, your body produces growth hormone (GH). GH is essential, not only for growth, but also for retaining calcium, fat loss, supporting your immune system and organ regulation. Other hormones regulated during sleep are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you if you’re hungry or not by stimulating your appetite, while leptin suppresses hunger. So, not getting enough sleep can make you hungry while getting the right amount of sleep for you promotes weight control.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, seven to nine hours of sleep a night is necessary for most people. If you are putting in long hours daily at the gym, you may need more. If getting enough sleep is an issue for you, here are some strategies to try to get the zzz’s you need.
-Schedule it: A regular pattern of waking up and going to bed at the same time helps the body’s internal clock to set. Your body will know when it can start repairs to keep you healthy.
-Avoid sleep aids: Over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids can actually mess with the quality of the sleep you do manage to get, leaving you feeling even more tired and out-of-sorts than before. Unless a doctor has prescribed it for you, use other methods before bedtime. Techniques such as deep breathing and meditation are a better approach.
-Ditch the night-caps: Alcohol and caffeine, especially if consumed right before bed, also disrupt sleep patterns and quality of sleep. Caffeine is a natural stimulant that could keep you awake longer than you want to be. Alcohol, on the other hand, has sedative qualities but can also disrupt the quality and quantity of sleep.
Sleep is important for many aspects of your daily life. It helps you resist colds and flus, recover from workouts, reduces pain, helps your memory, and gets your body ready for the next day.