The Importance of Rest Sleep; We all need it but do we get enough of it?

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When embarking on a new workout routine & you start to see great results, there is a tendency to overdo it, to keep going, to eventually burn out…

Instead of dropping back to square one, start off right by insuring your body is not only fueled properly but is adequately rested. You should aim to get 7 to 8 hours of shut-eye every night. That gives your body the time it needs for sleep to take care of you.

Rest is a main element to be factored into every workout plan, and here’s why:

Aids Recovery

While you sleep, your brain triggers the release of hormones that encourage tissue growth. This can help you recover from injuries such as cuts or even sore muscles from your last workout.

Keeps You Healthy 

Getting at least 8 hours of sleep can improve immune function and help your body fight off any common ailment (cold & flu etc). Quality ZZZs also helps your body defend itself. During sleep, you make more white blood cells that attack viruses and bacteria, says Sunita Kumar, MD. (Co-Director at the Center for Sleep Disorders at Loyola University Medical Center.)

Lowers Stress

Your blood pressure dips as you snooze. That may give your heart a break. There may be other heart health benefits, too. Your body tweaks your stress hormones during sleep. This, in turn, may curb inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and many other conditions.

Better Weight Control

Getting enough sleep could help you maintain your weight — and conversely, sleep loss goes along with an increased risk of weight gain. Why? Part of the problem is behavioral. If you’re overtired, you might be less likely to have the energy to go for that jog or cook a healthy dinner after work. The other part is physiological. The hormone leptin plays a key role in making you feel full. When you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels drop. Result: people who are tired are just plain hungrier — and they seem to crave high-fat and high-calorie foods specifically.

More Energy

It keeps you in top form at the gym. Quality sleep is like nature’s sports supplement, improving your speed, hand-eye coordination, reaction time and muscle recovery. Thing is, even short-term sleep deprivation messes with these, throwing off your performance at the gym. A 2013 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that sleep deprivation reduced muscle strength and power the next day, particularly if your workout was later in the afternoon.

 

Boosts Brain Function

Stumped about something? Then hit the hay; and you may wake up to a new way of looking at it. It’s true what they say, you should sleep on big decisions. You need to get enough sleep for clear thinking. It’s the difference between firing on four and all six cylinders. Good sleep has been shown to improve problem solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults.

Improves Mood & Positivity

Poor sleeping patterns are strongly linked to depression. Researchers believe that poor sleep affects our ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information.

Take Home Message

Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health.

You simply can not achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.

 Ciaran

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