Do you have problems sleeping? Can’t fall to sleep or wake up numerous times during the night? Notice your workouts suffer if you didn’t get a good night sleep? If you do, you are not alone. According to studies, 50% of all Americans are sleep-deprived and 37% are so sleepy it interferes with daily activities.
What is Sleep?
Sleep is the periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored. ~ Webster’s Dictionary
The Importance of Good Sleep
- Essential to physical and emotional health
- Aids body in illness & injury recovery
- Improves athletic performance
- Lack of sleep impairs memory, learning, & logical reasoning
- Less likely to experience lethargy, low energy, muscle fatigue if you have a good night sleep
- Enhances mood
- According to doctors, anything less than 8 hours within a 24 period is classified as sleep deprivation
- Optimal= 10 hours per 24 hours
- Average number of hours the American sleeps = 6.7 hours a night
It is dangerous not only to yourself but others if you are sleep deprived. Studies show that after a person is awake for 24 hours straight, their reaction time is the same of someone who has a blood alcohol level of 0.10 (above legal limit).
Fitness and Sleep
- A study from Stanford University found after increased sleep, participants had improved athletic performance. When they slept for 10 hours or more for 5 weeks, they performed better on athletic drills compared to when they slept just 6-7 hours.
- Get on a schedule. Your body will get used to falling asleep at a certain time, if you get on schedule. Aim for 8 hour or more of sleep a night.
- Take naps. If you can, naps are a great way to recover sleep. Limit naps to 30 minutes and avoid napping in late afternoon.
- Avoid caffeine. The effects of caffeine can take as long as eight hours to wear off, so if you must have caffeine avoid drinking it in the afternoon.
- Alcohol is not a sleep aid. Yes, you may go to sleep faster, but you will not get a restful sleep.
- Exercise. According to a study, regular exercise in the morning can help relieve insomnia. If you exercise regularly, chances are you will sleep better-no matter when you do it. Find the time that works best for you. SEE “The best time to exercise”
- Eat right. Going to bed hungry will keep your stomach wanting food, thus keeping you up. However, if you eat a heavy meal before bed it can also keep you awake longer due to the digestion process.
- Don’t smoke before bedtime. Nicotine is a stimulant in your bloodstream which will keep you more awake.
- If you still can’t sleep, visit a doctor to discuss further options.
Sources: The New York Times, WebMD