The importance of sleep and how to sleep better

by | Health, Training

The importance of sleep and how to sleep better

Isn’t it funny how as children we dreaded bedtime, but now can’t get enough of it as adults? But isn’t it super annoying that our beloved bedtime sleep isn’t always easy and we are constantly looking for how to sleep better!

In the ideal world- we all would love to get home after a long day, have a nutritious dinner, and then settle under the duvet. But these days with many leading a hectic life, we all want more and compromise with less. Everything is more important than rest, health, well-being, sometimes even family…

A silly question to ask is have you ever had a poor night’s sleep? Because for one reason or another each and every one of us have had a long sleepless night of constant tossing, turning, and stressing about problems.

Sadly, statistics have shown that over one third of adults get less than seven hours of sleep per night. It’s significant because seven is the minimum number of hours needed to keep both health risks and mental problems at bay.

Those figures are most likely higher, as many people whose lifestyle choices contribute to poor sleep misjudge the amount of sleep they are getting.

So how do we retrieve the lost art of sleep- the elusive and less and less attainable basic need of ours? How do we sleep better?!

Sleep, just like good nutrition and physical activity, is critical to our physical and mental health, so when we don’t 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.

Take 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 forces and your body may not be able to fend off infections. It may also take you longer to recover from illness. Long-term sleep deprivation also increases your risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart diseases.

Physical exercise and sleep

One of the best ways to help you sleep better is physical exercise. Here are some key aspects of training contributing to a better sleep:

1. Regular moderate intensity training: studies showed those who exercise fall asleep quicker and sleep longer. Be careful though, high intensity training or heavy lifting could have an adverse effect.

2. Exercise increases body temperature, and the post-exercise temperature drop helps falling asleep

3. Exercise also helps decrease arousal, anxiety and depressive symptoms that often lead to sleeplessness.

4. Timing your training well can also help alleviate sleeplessness caused by irregular circadian rhythms, also known as the body clock. If you suffer from lack of sleep engage in some moderate fitness training, and you will soon feel the difference.

On a flip side, training is the stimulus to which the body adapts. Sufficient sleep is essential to allowing time for these adaptations and for recovery to take place.

What is a healthy sleep?

It might come as a surprise, but not many of us actually know what a good sleep is. To say that you are a healthy sleeper you should be falling asleep within 15-20 minutes of lying down.

You should sleep a minimum of seven hours continuously in a 24-hour period on a regular basis.

While in bed, you should not toss and turn wishing to be sleeping. Your family members should not notice any disturbing behaviors from you while you sleep, such as snoring, irregular breathing, or restlessness. After a good sleep you should wake up feeling refreshed, alert and have a productive day.

Benefits of a healthy sleep

On a day to day basis a healthy sleep helps your mental and physical functions to recover, it increases the energy levels and heightens your mental awareness. As far as physical exercise is concerned, it’s inextricably linked with sleep thanks to the growth hormone. It’s during sleep that 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 is by having a good sleep routine! Good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories and be less prone to obesity. Keep an eye out on our next blog post about how, poor sleep affects your weight.

The art of good night’s sleep- what we recommend at PrimalX Fitness

If you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, accept it and apply yourself to solving it. This means that you will take conscious steps to educate yourself and do whatever it takes to fix it. After all, YOU are worth it, and your loved ones deserve it. 🙂

Plan it well- exercise to clear the mind and optimise hormone levels.

Create sleep friendly conditions in your bedroom. Make it as dark and as quiet as possible.

Limit toxic substances intake such as alcohol and caffeine. Avoid electronics (TV, smart phones, tablets) and artificial light as they interfere with the production of melatonin hormone which over/under production leads to stress and sleepless nights.

Avoid going to bed hungry or full as discomfort might keep you awake longer and affect the quality of your sleep.

Routine is key when it comes to sleep. Plan it well and stick to it strictly. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. You need a minimum of 7 but maximum of 8 hours of sleep every day.

Don’t compromise your bedtime by working overtime, partying to silly hours or flicking mindlessly through Facebook.

Your health is your wealth, and sleep, it so happens, is intrinsic to health. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture for a reason. It’s unpleasant, unhealthy and dangerous to our physical and mental health! This is exactly what you’re going through when you miss sleep regularly. keep our steps in mind on how to sleep better and contact us for anymore advice you need.

We have some other great blog posts about overall health and fitness like training in your 40’s and 50’s  and our very own head coach Stephen mcDonalds personal journey of changing his life through health and fitness. So be sure to check them out to if you enjoyed this blog post!

If you enjoyed our article or you want to get started on your own excercise journey , contact us through the form below or call Stephen on 087 064 5527 to discuss getting you started!

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