Hi, it's me, Agnes, this week and I would like to talk about SLEEP because I feel its importance to our attaining our fitness goals is often missed or under appreciated by many. Many of us have our days (and nights) filled with work, chores and family commitments, and sleep is the last item on our daily agenda. I used to be like many of you out there, so busy trying to finish all my day’s obligations. I used to wish I had 48 hours instead of 24 hours a day and I regarded sleep as downtime, so unproductive! Well, I am a changed person today and I now make sure I get between 7-8 hours of sleep a day, as otherwise I would feel handicapped by my lack of energy, listlessness and little cheer.
How much sleep do adults need ?
Most health experts would recommend :
18-64 years : need 7-9 hours
Older adults, age 65 years or older : need 7-8 hours
What happens if I don’t get enough sleep ?
Sleep deprivation not only affects your energy level; you may feel irritable, tired, anxious, difficulty concentrating and lack of appetite, may also get digestion problems. Very importantly for those who workout, lack of sleep also affects our recovery rate and affects muscle growth. This will be totally counter productive to our workout objective! I have on a few occasions trained without adequate sleep and not only did I find it affected my concentration and energy levels, I felt totally drained and took a longer time to recover. Our bodies actually produce muscle building hormones during our sleep including human growth hormone and important functions like tissue repair and muscle growth which is key to muscle strength, occur during sleep. We need muscle repair and regenerative growth in order to improve our strength and athletic performance. Muscle coordination also improves with sufficient sleep; sleep is also vital to cement muscle recall linked to body movements.
Tips to get quality sleep
1. Try to sleep at a regular time. Set aside 15-20 minutes to relax, sit in bed, wind down your thoughts, meditate or just chill to get yourself ready to sleep
2. Make sure you have a good, firm stable mattress . A good mattress is a worthwhile long term investment!
3. Avoid eating especially eating a heavy meal before you sleep (hence avoid suppers!). Our bodies need 3- 4 hours to digest our food so keep that in mind.
4. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and/or spicy food at night as these may interfere with your sleep, too stimulating or cause heartburn, acidity in your digestive system
5. I personally find a magnesium capsule before bedtime very helpful. Magnesium glycinate is known to promote sleep and also bone density. I take one capsule daily which is 120mg and I fall alseep real easy!
6. If you are snoring or have frequent insomnia, you may want to see a doctor as you may be suffering from sleep apnea or other medical condition.
Do share with us how you unwind before sleep so we can all benefit from your sharing! Send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org