I want to talk about another piece of this “health” business that we don’t seem to think much about: the importance of sleep. After all, there just aren’t enough hours in the day…
Do you realize the impact sleep has on health and weight loss? The importance of sleep is underestimated.
Sleep can be the limiting factor in your ability to achieve health goals. You may have your eating and exercising down and wonder why you haven’t seen much improvement. Alternatively, you may have seen improvements but hit a plateau. Consider that sleep may be the culprit.
The interesting thing is that we will feel fine and can run on less sleep, get a second wind, and down that fourth cup of coffee. In that situation, we are just depriving our bodies of rest and eventually this will catch up with us. The body needs to take energy from somewhere. Sleep resets our brain function, helps immunity, balances hormones, and recovers our body from the stresses of the day.
The Importance of Sleep
The less sleep we get, the more sick we get. The body has to take energy from somewhere to keep things working; that energy is taken from the immune system. We don’t see it until after all the stress has passed. That is when the sickness strikes. Immunity is very important for just about any condition or disease you can think of. This is also why we get tired when we are sick (hint: the body needs to rest in order to regain its health!).
Apparently if we work hard all our life on limited sleep and then when we finally “retire” or rest, we see the diseases pop up and problems start brewing. The importance of sleep can hit you later on in life.
When does the body recover itself, especially after a hard workout? It is only in sleep that we can fully recover, this is when the body releases the hormones necessary to repair itself. For example, only in deep sleep is Human Growth Hormone released. Wonder why babies sleep all day? They need to grow and learn. We aren’t only recovering from exercise, but our cognitive function as well.
If you need sleep and try to get up early to work out, choose sleep! Also, if you had a hard workout or a high activity day, you’ll need more sleep than usual that day to recover.
The body secretes hormones during sleep that regulate appetite and metabolism. If we are tired, we will more likely reach for that quick sugar-filled food, such as the morning doughnut. Sleep also decreases cortisol, the stress hormone. Stress contributes to many conditions including obesity.
The best thing you can do is go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. How do we know how to sleep and how long? It generally runs from 7-9 hours. It depends on the person and what was done that day. You will figure out what works best for you. If you work strange hours, the best way to handle it is to create a schedule.
Not to mention, we won’t be as cranky!
Fresh Idea: The importance of sleep is something to consider when stuck in a rut of health.