GETTING a good night’s sleep is important for many reasons.

Good night’s sleep is important for many reasons.

GETTING a good night’s sleep is important for many reasons.

Getting a good night’s sleep is important for many reasons.  You may already know that your brain forms memories while you are asleep, your body repairs cells, boosts your immune system, and filters out its own toxins.

Here is another reason you may not have considered before- diet and exercise are affected by sleep too!

Think about a time when you did not have good sleep.  Maybe you stayed up too late binge-watching Netflix.  Or your day was stressful, your mind was racing, keeping you awake for hours into the night.  In the morning, did you want to jump out of bed eager to work out?  Probably not.  More than likely, you felt sluggish and sore.

Proper sleep is key to restoring the energy you need to power you through your day, especially when you are using that energy to exercise. There are small tears created in your muscles when you are strength training or doing cardio, which are repaired during sleep to make your muscles stronger.  If you aren’t getting enough rest, the process takes place more slowly or becomes interrupted.  You may not be earning the desired results for the hard work you put in to build and tone muscle without enough shut-eye.

Wondering how sleep affects eating habits? 

Have you ever found yourself mindlessly snacking on something “just because”?  Perhaps your thoughts were drifting off and before you knew what was happening, you ate way too much of that “convenience” snack rather than grabbing a healthier option.  The chemicals in your brain that signal you’re full are off-balanced when you are not well-rested.  This can contribute to overeating, even night-time snacking.  It’s very easy to consume a few hundred calories you weren’t planning on when you grab a late-night snack.

I’m sure you aren’t surprised to hear that eating a balanced diet of nutrient-dense foods contributes to better sleep.  Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also help curb your snack attacks.

Eating a large meal too close to bedtime can have a negative effect on the quality of your sleep. Once you eat, your metabolism goes to work. It’s difficult for your body to rest when it’s busy digesting food.  It may be a benefit to stop eating about 3 hours before bed. Allowing enough time for proper digestion before lying down to sleep may also help curb issues like reflux.

Without proper sleep, you risk an injury.  Reaction times can be slower during regular activities or when you need to think and act fast, like during a workout.  Having to recover from an injury can put a serious dent in your fitness routine.          

So, just how many hours of sleep should most adults get each night?  

For adults, 7-9 hours is the recommended amount of sleep to keep you functioning well during the day.  The good news is- getting enough exercise can help you sleep!  Exercise makes you physically tired, so your body will crave rest.  It also is a great way to help relieve stress, which can calm that racing mind at night.  Try to give yourself about 1 ½ hours between the end of your workout and bedtime. A few minutes of stretching and meditation help set the stage for sleep also, and minimize soreness from your exercise routine.

As you can see, getting a good night’s sleep is important for many reasons. Even small adjustments in your routine may have a positive impact on your sleep.  To read more on sleep click here. OR, try adding in a 10-minute walk or quick yoga session to your day.

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