The Importance of Sleep
When we talk about building muscle, most of us typically think about protein shakes, heavy weights and hours spent at the gym. Getting a good night's sleep might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it couldn't be more important.
Sleep is the body's natural healer, helping you recover from your workouts, fight off infection and process information from the day before.
While your brain works on coding and processing important information you've learnt throughout the day, like your study notes for your exam or your new bike route home, your certain physiological activities drop. Your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing slow down, bringing your body temperature down with it. It’s also a time of the day when your stress hormone decreases as well.
In the meantime, your immune system starts working harder while your body’s natural building and growth hormones increase. Sleep is an important time for your body’s natural reconstruction, restoring what has become sore or damaged whether from illness, stress or your workouts.
How to sleep better
How much you need to sleep can vary from person to person, but it's generally recommended to get 7 - 9 hours of sleep per night. While some adults can manage on 6 hours, less sleep means a reduced ability to right infection, less energy and can even lead to more serious health issues.
So if you're always tired, constantly getting sick or just want to live a healthier lifestyle, getting a good night's sleep is a great place to start. Here's what you can do to sleep better:
- Physical Activity: Whether it's a 7 minute workout or a gentle walk, doing some form of exercise daily can help you feel more relaxed and tired at night.
- Sleep routine: Bedtime isn't just for babies! Having a set time to go to bed and wake up helps your body get into a rhythm for sleep.
- Reduce stress: Mindfulness activities like journaling and meditation can relieve stress and reduce nighttime rumination.
- Eat well: Avoiding sugary foods and caffeine before bed, as well as making sure you're not too hungry before going to sleep can help you wind down faster.
- Sunlight: Be sure to get some fresh air during the day to regulate your circadian rhythm.