Blog by-VICTORIA VEST
Have you noticed lately that sleeping has developed a rather negative stigma? It feels like if you sleep more than 7 hours you’re expected to feel guilty and people who sleep less than that tend to brag about how productive they are on such little rest. Well dream away friends and feel guilty no more! Recent studies have found that sleep is actually the most crucial aspect of recovery, whether it be high intensity training or simply an overly stressful day at work.
Every time we exercise we actually are creating microscopic tears in our muscles. When we sleep, these tears are actually repaired, recovered, and rebuilt to be even stronger (according to Dr. Grayson Winderum PT, DTD, CSCS). However, if we do not get the proper amount of rest, our muscles aren’t given enough time to recover and rebuild.
Our sleep cycle is made up of five stages. These stages last about 90 minutes and then repeat themselves throughout the evening. Human Growth Hormones (HGH) begin to rise around 30-45 minutes after we fall asleep, beginning in stage 3 and then on to stage 4 of our sleep cycle. HGH is crucial for our body in that it regulates the rate of our metabolism. this amino acid produced in the pituitary gland of the brain, is not produced and released until we reach our deepest level of sleep, which is why getting a full night’s rest is so important for recovery.
Do you watch nightly reruns of your favorite tv show or scroll through your instagram till your eyes feel heavy and you finally fall into dreamland? Well, according to the “International Review of Neurobiology”, when we expose ourselves to bright lights like those from our smart phones or tv screens, we actually awaken our brains and make it more difficult for ourselves to fall asleep. Studies have also shown that if we do somehow manage to drag ourselves into the gym on minimal sleep, not only do we typically cut our workouts short from lack of motivation (do to lack of shut eye!), we actually falsely perceive our workouts as being more physically exhausting. In other words, we just can’t even!
So how do we finally put this problem to rest?? Here are some easy solutions to get more zzz’s:
- Regulate your sleep schedule-try to get to bed around the same time and wake up at the same time daily!
- Attempt to average 7-9 hrs of sleep so your body becomes accustomed to it.
- Give yourself enough time to unwind before bed time! Especially if you like to work out in the evening, don’t cut those workouts too close to when you’re getting into bed.
- Listen to your body. If you feel like you need more sleep, you probably need more sleep! Don’t feel guilty about much needed rest.