Good Sleep is Essential for Exercise
There are few things in life that can claim to be loved by all, but sleep is definitely one of them. Who doesn’t love a good night’s sleep? Sleep has so many benefits, but it’s especially relevant when it comes to exercise. A lack of sleep can negatively affect your fitness.
Unfortunately, more and more people complain of difficulties falling asleep. Many others have no trouble falling asleep, but can’t quite seem to get enough of it. The majority of full-time workers spend many of their days tired, despite having gotten a full night’s sleep! So what makes a good night’s sleep so elusive, and why does this matter?
At Beckwith Health Club, we want to help you achieve your fitness goals. It’s hard to do that without a good’s night sleep, so let’s look into some of the well-known tips and tricks for better sleep.
Why Is Sleep So Important?
Despite its importance in everyone’s lives, modern science is still unsure of exactly why we sleep the way we do. However, while we don’t quite know everything there is to know about sleep, we still know a good deal.
Sleep is essential to our brain and body’s proper functioning. One of sleep’s main functions is a process called “consolidation”. This is the process whereby our brains solidify and consolidate memories while we sleep. Essentially, this means transferring them from short-term to long-term memory. This process is vital for learning and development (this is why babies and younger children require more sleep than the average adult).
While everyone is different, it is estimated that adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. If you’re not getting this, you may be inadvertently harming yourself.
Sleep is also essential for muscle repair, growth, and for synthesizing hormones. We often tend to think of sleep as a time of rest for both our bodies and our brains. In fact, the opposite is true: sleep is an active period for brains. It’s thanks to this active period that we’re able to rest and rejuvenate, both physically and mentally.
What Are the Risks Associated with Not Getting Enough Sleep?
According to the British government’s health website, one in three of us suffer from bad sleep. Sleep deficiency or deprivation can have substantial negative impacts. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you might have trouble making decisions, as well as trouble focusing. This can impact your safety – sleep deprivation is a common cause of car accidents.
As well as a loss of focus and decreased decision-making ability, a lack of creativity is also a common side effect of sleep deprivation. These can all severely impact the quality of your work, as well as your ability to work altogether.
Moreover, sleep deprivation can impact on your mood and your relationships with others. A big concern is the link between sleep deficiencies and depression, suicide, and increased risk-taking behaviour.
So, those are the negatives… but what about the positives? What are some ways to overcome sleep deficiency, and what benefits will this have on your daily life?
On the Up: How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep
When it comes to improving the quality and quantity of your sleep, recommendations centre around three main points. These are establishing a routine, reducing stress, and exercise.
Tip 1: Establish a Regular Sleeping Pattern
First of all, what’s this about a sleep routine? Experts suggest that going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day can have a significant effect on the ease of our ability to fall asleep. The basic science behind this is that we have what is known as an internal body clock. By establishing a routine for when we go to bed and wake up every day, you can essentially programme your brain and your internal body clock to become used to a set routine. This will make falling asleep come much more naturally to you!
Watch out for those weekends though – unfortunately, establishing a set routine isn’t something that can be done only 5 days a week. What’s more, alcohol can significantly affect your ability to have a good night’s sleep.
Tip 2: Reduce Stress & Anxiety
The second big idea when trying to improve your sleep is to focus on reducing stress. High levels of stress or anxiety can make falling asleep incredibly difficult, as it stimulates the mind and keeps you wired. Not what you want! The solutions to this problem focus on winding down before a set bedtime. Avoid using screens and watching the news during this time – why not opt instead for a good book? Exercising in the daytime, even just 20 minutes, can help to drastically reduce levels of stress.
However, avoid vigorous exercise right before bed as this will again stimulate the body. Instead, practice yoga, or stretching, to help unwind the body after a long day, and to keep the mind calm. If you struggle with anxiety, get into the habit of writing a to-do list before bed. This will help to clear your mind and let you drift off in peace. For some stretching motivation, check out our blog here.
Tip 3: Exercise!
Lastly, for a better sleep, get out there and moving! Making time for regular exercise and workouts will have a significant effect on the quality of your sleep.
Physical activity helps to increase the amount of time you spend in the “deep sleep” phase, which in turn leads to a more restful night. Exercise also helps to increase the duration of your sleep, helping you to get the 7-9 hours you need easier. For some motivation tips and ideas on easy exercises to do during the lockdown and while gyms remain closed, check out our blog here.
Lastly, regular exercise helps to reduce your stress levels. As stress is the common denominator of many sleep issues, dealing with this can help you to fall asleep faster!
Have a Good Night’s Sleep!
Sleep is crucial to good health and achieving your fitness goals. We hope the above tips and tricks improve the quality, duration and depth of your sleep! Good night!