Why sleep matters
Perhaps one the most over looked component of any fitness endeavours is sleep. I see a lot of people putting a lot of effort into their training and nutrition only to tell me they usually sleep less than 6 hours a night...
Sleep is an essential part of our daily routine and plays a vital role in our overall health and well-being. During sleep, our bodies and minds are able to rest and rejuvenate, allowing us to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.
The most direct impact on sleep in our fitness lives is the recovery you get from it. When you workout, you break down muscles. You repair those muscles when you sleep. Good sleep (7-8 hours) means more repair, more energy the next day, less soreness the next day and a better ability to train the next day.
Another functions of sleep is the consolidation of memories and learning. During deep sleep, the brain is able to process and organize information from the day, solidifying new memories and reinforcing existing ones. This is why a good night's sleep is crucial for students and anyone else looking to learn and retain new information, like how to perform a certain exercise properly.
Adequate sleep is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, allowing it to fight off infections and illnesses more effectively. Studies have also shown that people who get enough sleep tend to have lower levels of inflammation in their bodies, which can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Other physical benefits of sleep include:
Helping the body repair and grow new tissue
Improving cardiovascular health
Controlling body weight
In addition to physical health, sleep also plays an important role in mental health. People who don't get enough sleep are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, and chronic sleep deprivation can even lead to the development of mental health disorders. Getting enough sleep can help to improve mood, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, and improve overall cognitive function.
Other mental benefits of sleep include:
Improving decision-making and problem-solving skills
Reducing stress and promoting a sense of calm
Improving emotional regulation
Enhancing self-awareness and self-esteem
Unfortunately, many people struggle with getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. There are many factors that can contribute to this, including busy schedules, stress, and the use of electronic devices before bed.