Sleep - Why it's important and how we can improve our sleep
We all have had a fair share of sleepless nights of constant tossing, turning, and stressing about problems. We lead hectic lives, constantly chasing more and compromising less. Everything seems more important than health, well- being, sometimes even the family… Adults need a minimum of seven hours of sleep to keep health risks and mental problems at bay. Sadly, statistics have shown that over one third of adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night. Those figures are most likely higher, as people whose lifestyle choices contribute to poor sleep misjudge the amount of sleep they are getting.
Sleep, just like good nutrition and physical activity, is critical to our physical and mental health, so when we do not get enough, we sacrifice way more than just a good night’s rest. Without sleep our daily routine gets disrupted and our organisms cannot perform to its full capacity. Long-term sleep deprivation is associated with decreased immunity, brain function and fertility, obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, depression, serious mental disorders… Take the immune system for example. While you sleep, it produces protective, infection- fighting substances that help combat bacteria and viruses. Sleep deprivation prevents your immune system from building up its defenses and your body may not be able to fend off infections. It may also take you longer to recover from illness.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP
PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND SLEEP
One way to achieve a healthier sleep is physical exercise. Studies have shown that those who do moderate intensity training regularly fall asleep quicker and sleep longer. Be careful though, high intensity training or heavy lifting could have an adverse effect.
Exercise increases body temperature, and the post-exercise temperature drop helps falling asleep. Exercise also helps decrease arousal, anxiety and depressive symptoms that often lead to sleeplessness. On the other side, sufficient sleep is essential for post-workout recovery when training adaptations take place. To conclude, train more to sleep better and a sleep more to train better!
It might come as a surprise, but few of us know what a good sleep is. A healthy sleeper should be falling asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying down and sleep a minimum of seven hours continuously in a 24-hour period on a regular basis. While in bed, he or she should not toss and turn, snore, breathe irregularly, or be restless. After a good night sleep, he or she should wake up feeling refreshed, alert and have a productive day. Healthy sleepers, hands up!
On a day-to-day basis a healthy sleep restores your hormone balance and energy levels, heightens your mental awareness, and helps your mental and physical functions to recover. The growth hormone links physical exercise with sleep. During sleep, the concentration of growth hormone which contributes to muscle growth and repair is at its highest. This hormone promotes healthy metabolism, better physical performance, and longer life. The best way to increase growth hormone levels and get most out of your training is by having a good sleep routine. Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories and be less prone to obesity.