Anyone who knows me understands that sleep is very important to me...and if something messes with my bedtime routine, Medusa is coming out in the morning. In last month's newsletter, I went over how to make the most of your workout by setting aside all of life's distractions in order to connect your mind with your body. In addition to focusing during your workout, you can optimize your results pre and post workout by ensuring that you're getting enough sleep!
Why is sleep so important? For one, restoration of the body happens during REM stages 3 and 4.
Your muscles are able to relax
Blood supply to the muscles increase
Tissue growth and repair occurs
Energy levels are restored
Able to rid the body of toxins
Hormones are released such as the growth hormone (plays main role in muscle growth and development)
Every person is different in terms of how many hours of sleep is needed to refuel the body. Some people, who I am jealous of, can run just fine off of 6 hours of sleep. I, on the other hand, as well as many of the general population need between 7-9 hours.
Second, when you lack proper sleep time, hormones that are unable to function properly during sleep offset a slew of other hormones that aid in homeostasis (maintaining a condition of balance). The stress hormone (cortisol) is an essential hormone that is needed to promote regulation. When it runs amok from chronic sleep deprivation, it creates a chain reaction in affecting other hormones like insulin. Research has shown this cause and effect contributes to weight gain, depression, inability to think clearly, low sex drive, high blood pressure, and fatigue.
What can you do to help guarantee a good night's sleep? Get on a routine! As with any other goal, you must establish a routine that to follow consistently in order to create a new, healthy habit. Here are some common mistakes you might be making before bedtime and some suggestions for healthier sleep alternatives.