Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sleep...The Necessary Luxury

I am sitting at my computer after the first good night's sleep I have gotten in a very long time. At this stage in the pregnancy game I am large beyond comfort which means I can't even sleep to escape how big I am. Instead I spend most of the night flipping from side to side hoping that at some point in time I will actually find a spot I can ignore my weighted belly and fall asleep.

For me this is not a common fight, for my husband sleep is an endless battle. He has tried so many different things, yet sleep still alludes him. Many nights he ends up falling asleep on the couch watching tv sometime after midnight. For some this wouldn't be so bad, but I have two kids that are definitely morning kids. They wake up before the sun and they are ready to party.

Sleep is something that we all need, but not something that we all get. Sleep is necessary for a whole bunch of reasons, today I just wanted to look at sleep and our fitness. There have been countless research projects that have shown that a lack of sleep leads to weight gain, increase in overuse injuries, and a decrease in muscle mass.

Like so many other things, it comes down to hormones. Sleep largely effects two hormones, Leptin and Gherlin. These two hormones effect our appetite, what foods we crave, and our energy expenditure. The magic number recommended to keep these two hormones in check, 8. Eight hours of sleep. I am going to be honest, I don't know any adult, especially if they have kids at home, that get 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis.

During sleep our body is also repairing and rebuilding muscles. Muscles are torn down at the gym, but it is when we are sleeping our body has the full ability to recover and rebuild. During deep sleep phases our body uses protein and growth hormone to repair those muscles you have worked so hard to tear down.

There are many other reasons we need sleep, these are the only ones that I wanted to hit on today. These are things that I discuss on a regular basis with my clients as we talk about all the necessary components to losing weight, training for a race, or even just feeling better and healthier.
Sleep....get some!

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