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Health and Wellbeing

12 Nov 2015

Sleep, rest and recovery

These are all essential for optimal health, fitness and well-being.

Sleep

We all know that we need to sleep. But do we understand just how important our sleep is for optimal health, fitness and wellbeing? There is no exact number of hours that we must sleep and nor is there an ideal number of hours required to ensure we live to our optimal ability but studies say that the average adult requires about seven and nine hours each night.

Getting less than four hours sleep a night can reduce our immune system by up to 50 per cent the next day and increase our chances of infection as some research shows. Being sleep deprived clearly makes us tired but also can reduce our concentration and even make us more injury-prone. Sleep deprivation can cause havoc with our hunger hormones and increase levels of the hunger-inducing ghrelin and decreases the satiating leptin. This may in turn cause you to eat more and gain weight.

When we sleep it allows our brain to recharge, our cells to repair themselves and our body releases important hormones. Getting into our REM stage (rapid eye movement) is vital and a lack of it impairs our ability to learn complex tasks.

Often cortisol is a major player in inhibiting one from their goal of weight loss not to mention one’s stress and behaviors on a daily basis. So if you are not getting enough sleep and/or not achieving your goals, perhaps look to take steps to improve.

Rest

Rest need not only be confined to sleep and our body recovering mentally and physically but also just taking time throughout the day to have a break or release from our daily work or tasks.

When our mind is on the go constantly we have increased cortisol and activity of the adrenal glands. One way to help our mind rest is through either what is referred to as mindfulness or in a more complex manner through use of meditation.

There is a great app that serves as a great introduction into mindfulness and that is CALM.COM. It allows the beginner to start with as little as five minutes but will help your mind and body “rest”, recover and repair and keep optimal health and the added ability to focus, keep relaxed and calm.

Recovery

It is important to note the physical need of recovery from our workouts. After a heavy exercise workout our body can and should endure DOMS (an abbreviation from Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness). This is way more prevalent in those that do weights or resistance training but essentially when we expose our muscles to resistance, we actually tear our muscles and muscle fibres and then through rest, recovery, sleep and adequate nutrition (namely protein), we then thicken, build and strengthen our muscles. Conversely if we don’t allow enough rest, recovery, sleep and adequate nutrition we can actually impair what it is that we are actually exercising or training for! Keep in mind that DOMS usually kick in 24-48 hours AFTER a workout.

I hope that this has been insightful and for those of you lacking sleep and/or not reaching your goals, perhaps reflect and ask yourself “am I getting enough quality sleep”?

For a more information or if you have any questions feel free to contact me
www.justintimept.com

Justin Moran - Just In Time PT

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