Sleep, The Other Kind of Fuel

You exercise regularly and eat right in order to stay fit and perform at your peak, but you'll never reach your fitness goals unless you're also giving ‘the machine’ plenty of time to recover with sleep. In fact, your diet, exercise and sleep are all dynamically tied to one another. If you eat poorly your workouts and sleep will suffer; if you’re inactive your sleep and metabolism won’t be optimal; and yes, if you don’t get sufficient sleep expect to suck wind and just generally suck at everything. 


It is now believed that non-REM sleep is when your body is recovering...
The research suggests that if you’ve had a day of intense training, you’ll
spend less time 
dreaming so your body has more time for restorative sleep.

Sleep is a critical component for your overall well-being, physically and mentally. As a fighter, you need it to repair post-workout tissue damage, but you'll also enjoy a more efficient metabolism, better hormone balance, and acuter (sure, that’s a word) mental sharpness. As many as one in three adults get six or less hours of sleep every night and and a survey revealed that some two-thirds of Americans report occasional sleeping problems like insomnia or snoring. And any lack of good, adequate sleep could dilute your efforts at being awesome.

There are still a lot of unknowns having to do with sleep research. It is widely understood that REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, your dream sleep, is essential for maintaining your overall mental health, but it is now believed that non-REM sleep is when your body is recovering from the day’s activities. The research suggests that if you’ve had a day of intense training, you’ll likely spend less time dreaming so your body has more time for restorative sleep. So I suppose if you’ve been having bad dreams lately, try doing a hundred pushups before bed?

If you feel that you’re not getting full restful, restorative sleep at night, consider the following:

  •  If you are snoring or sleep next to a snorer, the snore-afflicted should consider seeing a doctor
  •  Avoid caffeine in the hours leading up to bedtime. Even if you’re able to sleep, caffeine could affect sleep quality
  •  Avoid alcohol anytime near bedtime. 
  •  Turn off the television and the laptop at least an hour pre-sleep to reduce the effects of artificial light and to minimize stimulation.

You need at least six hours sleep per night, and likely, eight hours is a better option. Napping is always a good idea, but don’t use naps as a way to excuse not getting enough hours of shut eye at night. If you’re having problems concentrating or if you just feel tired during the day, yet you allow enough time for sleep you may need to consult a doctor to find a way to get restful sleep at night. 

Sleep: it’s every bit as important as your diet and exercise if you want to be the best You that you can be.

Posted on August 20, 2014 .