A good snooze or would you rather stay up late at night? I'm here to give you some facts on the importance of having a good nights sleep and what happens to your body when you do and don't give it this. How many of you are getting the required amount of sleep? How many of you know the amount you should be having? Well, let's find out...
Sleep is crucial to everyone. It goes without saying, I'm sure most of us would love to spend more time in bed, however our active and busy lifestyles won't allow us to just relax and lay there. In everyday life sleep is so important for different things to happen in your body that you may not know happens. The things that do happen, also, are synced with your body to occur at certain times while you sleep. So whilst staying up late to watch a movie or finish off some work may seem a good idea at the time, it could actually be hindering your functionality for the next day.
So, while you're asleep a whole range of functions takes place to make sure we get optimal benefit from sleeping. During sleep is when your body undergoes its repair and rebuilding phases from the tasks and activities it has had to deal with that day. In some cases, if you lead an exceptionally busy lifestyle, you may still be recovering from the day before. Poor sleep patterns may lead to poor health, and it is recommended that you sleep for longer than six hours a night. Furthermore, sleep is great for re charging your mental and physical state.
Sleeping helps revitalise the brain, skin, blood levels, the immune system, hormones and muscles. I want to focus on the benefits sleeping gives you when having an active lifestyle. A protein hormone called HGH promotes the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and bones by using amino acids (these are building blocks of protein). When you sleep, each tissue is renewed faster than at any time when you are awake. Therefore the longer you are asleep, the more time your body has to repair these tissues. We also produce a hormone called melatonin which helps us sleep, it controls our sleep-wake cycles, the more of this we produce the deeper our sleep. A supplement called ZMA is a great one to use before you go to sleep. It is great for repair and produces melatonin. Getting enough sleep can help fight infections and illness. Remember, our cells repair when we are asleep, so if you feel a slight cough or cold developing, it may be an idea to get a few extra hours in bed to prevent it coming out entirely.
There is no doubt, when it comes to recovery after exercising, THE best way, to recover and grow is through sleeping. I believe in going to sleep before midnight to optimise your sleep. Approximately 30-45 minutes before falling asleep the hormone HGH is released. I recommend using a casein protein to take before going to sleep which can be taken approximately 45 minutes before sleeping. When you sleep, your muscles are rebuilding, so why not give it something to help with the task. The last thing you want to happen is for your body to go into hunger mode, and break down the muscle you have spent time trying to build. A casein will release protein slowly into the body, and can release for 5-7 hours depending on your body type. A great product to use before sleep and something which is a staple in my diet. If you don't want to take a supplement, eating chicken or turkey will work almost the same.
I recommend giving yourself at least 6 hours of sleep a night. If you have less than this amount, and sometimes feel like you struggle the next day and possibly still feel sore from workouts days ago, it might be that you need to try having a couple more hours.
Remember, you don't get results whilst you train. It all happens when you rest. So sleep really is one of your great friends, that you shouldn't ignore. I realise that for most of us, this is easier said than done. Our active and busy lives can sometimes take over, and we forget the little things, like getting a good sleep. However, hopefully by reading this you can make a conscious effort to get them in. Like most things when trying to be healthy and lead a good lifestyle, everything in moderation is ok. Therefore, a couple of nights of the week, (maybe the weekends) where you go to sleep later it won't be too bad, and you won't feel like you are missing out on things. In all advice I give, it's best to take a humble approach to it, see how it works for you. Everything is trial and error.