Sleep, Fitness & Achieving your goals
We’ve heard it all before: sleep is super important, get your full 8 hours, get your beauty rest, but sometimes we work so hard during the day to get the to-do list checked off that we forget to put that same effort towards our quality of sleep. The right amount of sleep, at the right time, is essential to maintaining physical and mental health and your overall quality of life. How you feel awake is very much determined by how you sleep at night.
OK, so that was a bit broad. We all know sleep is important, but how much does it really impact our lives?
Sleep is your brain’s chance to prepare for the next day’s new set of challenges (aka tackling that big, long list you need to get through or your boss is going to kill you!). It’s organizing, remembering and processing information from the day, and forming new pathways for information it will encounter tomorrow. A lack of sleep doesn’t give your brain enough time to process and reboot, which in turn can lead to an assortment of not-so-great things like: inability to remember things, mood swings, feelings of depression and even a lack of motivation.
While your brain is busy getting ready for the next day, your body is able to focus on healing and repairing. When you cut sleep short, your body doesn’t have the necessary time to repair issues that over time can lead to heart and kidney disease, diabetes and even strokes.
While sleeping, your body is also able to better repair muscle tissue (think all those sore, tired muscles after a BLAST class!) and help decrease inflammation. So, the harder you are pushing it in class, the more important sleep becomes for your body to take care of itself, and keep your athletic/physical performance at its best.
Sleep helps keep your hormone levels in balance. These hormone levels can affect your appetite. Decreased sleep, means decreased balance in hormone levels which leads to increased, unwarranted hunger. Getting adequate sleep not only keeps your appetite at a healthy level, it also can help prevent late night snack attacks!
YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Your immune system also relies heavily on sleep to function properly (part of why you sleep so much when you have a cold or the flu!). Continued lack of sleep can wreck havoc on your body’s immune system and leave you vulnerable to falling ill more often than usual.
You’ve got a lot going on; a lot of things to remember, things to do and places to be. People who are sleep deficient have a harder time focusing and retaining information, and often take longer to complete tasks. In addition, a lack of sleep can severely impair your driving. Studies show sleep deficiency harms your ability to drive as much as being intoxicated; sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents every single year.
OK, so you get it...sleep is important, but just because it’s important doesn’t mean getting a good night’s sleep is easy! For many, sleep can be difficult and frustrating.
Here are a couple BLAST tips to help make sleep a priority and get your body the rest it needs:
STICK TO A SCHEDULE. This way your body will know when it’s time to ‘shut off’ and start recovery mode.
EXERCISE DAILY. After a hard day of work your body will be ready to put head to pillow.
COMFORT. This seems like a no brainer, but make sure your mattress, pillows and even sheets/blankets are comfortable. You’ll be much more inclined to hop into bed on time if it’s a comfy place to unwind.
EVALUATE YOUR ROOM. This goes beyond your sheets and mattress. Think lighting, windows, and room temperature.
AVOID NAPS. This knocks your body off of its schedule.
RITUAL. Creating a bedtime ritual is good for unwinding and settling down for the night. Whether it’s not eating after a certain time, enjoying a warm cup of tea or listening to a certain song that calms you.
NO SCREENS! Set a time at least 1 hour prior to bedtime that all blue screens (i.e. phones, tablets) are turned off.
We want our BLAST Fam to be healthy, happy and, of course, fit! Sleep is a crucial part to successfully accomplishing all three. When considering your overall health and wellness, be sure to always take into account your sleep habits, and give it the time and effort it deserves and needs.
Sources: Women’s Health Magazine, National Sleep Foundation, National Institute of Health