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10 July, 2012
We seem to have so many different fitness options, from differing opinions on exercise to machines that cost thousands to gadgets that take “only take 3 mins per day”, all claiming the same thing – to get us fit and healthy. Even personal trainers offer a wide range of seemingly “industries best” qualifications that make them the best. Yet I find there is only 1 element of our modern fitness regime that has stood the test of time – yet is completely underrated by so many and under appreciated on the power it can have – sorry no pill magic here, but good old sleep.
When you first close your eyes, the body starts its physical repair, this happens between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am, between the hours of 2 am and 6 am is when the physiological repair happens. Thus if you are going to bed later than 10 or 10.30 then you are already missing out on valuable recovery time that your body needs from those personal training sessions or the brutal 6 am bootcamp session. The 8 hours starts at 10 pm so sleeping for 8 hours from 2 am to 10 am has been proven to not be as effective
Detoxification of the liver happens in deep stage sleep, thus if you are not allowing yourself those valuable hours of deep stage sleep your body cannot detoxify all the chemicals it takes in on a daily basis. Over months and years this level of toxicity builds and will show itself one day with someone struggling to lose weight or being more prone to sickness and disease.
Dr Sonja Peterson N.M.D who has written an article labelled “A Good Nights Sleep” points out some key reasons why sleep is so important.
- Your metabolism declines due to a Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) decrease. With a lower metabolism you will not be burning as many calories on a daily basis.
- “Research has shown that after just one week of insufficient sleep, the body can no longer metabolise carbs efficiently. Blood sugar takes 40% longer to decrease after a high carb meal”. With the above information it is easy to see why a high carbohydrate meal combined with a lack of quality sleep leeds us to ill health and weight gain very quickly.
The way your bedroom is set up can make a big impact on your sleep. Follow the below rules and you should be set for a good night sleep.
- Make your room as dark as possible. It is only when you are in complete dark that melatonin is released. It is melatonin that helps your body get into deep stage sleep. You should not be able to see your hand in front of your face when you hop into bed.
- Take all electronic equipment out of your room. This includes TVs to your mobile phones. If you insist on having your phone in your room. The electromagnetic fields from these machines have been shown to affect your sleep patterns.
- Make sure you associate your bedroom with sleep (and maybe one other activity). I.e. do not sit on your laptop doing work emails just before try to sleep.
A good indicator to tell if you have had a good nights sleep is the fact that you do not wake up tired. You should be able to go to bed at 10 pm and wake up the next morning refreshed. Just remember that whatever your goals are, from building muscle to losing fat, or simply for long term health and vitality, being able to sleep through the night is the critical factor and best yet – it is free!!!