As promised, here is my post about the importance of sleep. There are so many reasons why you need to get a sufficient amount of sleep every night. Unfortunately there isn’t enough caffeine in the world to make up for lost sleep(trust me, I have tried to find that magic number of cups of coffee that would make me feel fully rested).
Sleep and your muscles. While you enter deep sleep there is a gland in your brain, the pituitary gland, which releases growth hormone. Growth hormone helps with tissue growth and repairs muscles. If you don’t get the right amount of sleep, which has been said to be between 8-10 hours a night, you miss out on the benefits of growth hormone release. It is very important for those of you who participate in strength and endurance trainings regularly to get closer to the 10 hours of sleep a night because your muscles are under a lot of strain very regularly. When working to build muscle there is a tiny bit of muscle breakdown occurring, which is like a very small muscle tear, so extra sleep is very important to help those muscles recover and get healthy again. If you are looking to improve performance getting the proper amount of sleep every night can be crucial to keeping your performance at levels at which you want to be performing.
If you are looking to have a healthier life and you related more to my nutrition tracking post and the points about wanting to look and feel better, then getting the proper amount of sleep can play a big role in how you are looking and feeling. Another hormone that sleep has a close relationship with is cortisol. Cortisol is a stress related hormone that rises and falls as our stress levels rise and fall. We want our cortisol levels to be highest as we wake up and during the beginning portions of our days when we are most active and doing the most stuff. As we ready ourselves for sleep our cortisol levels should be lowering. High cortisol levels make it hard for our body to relax, and if we are not sleeping properly our sleep-wake cycle will be thrown off, which will make it hard for our bodies to regulate our cortisol levels properly. When our cortisol levels are out of balance there are many biological problems that can arise, in particular there are metabolic and digestive issues. Our body will have issues regulating our metabolism and cortisol is a sign for our body to store fat. If we aren’t sleeping we are putting our bodies under unnecessary stress, thus raising our cortisol levels and telling our bodies to store body fat.
So if you are trying to look and feel better and you are eating right and exercising, but still not getting the results you want, I suggest you take a look at your sleep patterns. Are there multiple days in a row where you are thinking you slept great because you got 6 hours of sleep? Are you putting a lot of stress on yourself, whether it is work, school, relationships, or even exercising? Are you trying to make up for a bad night(nights) of sleep with large coffees with double shots of espresso? If you relate to these questions I want you to try to work on getting 8 good hours of sleep every night and see if there are changes to how you look and feel. Some things that may help you get to sleep would be investing in black out curtains, a white noise machine, not sitting on your phone until you fall asleep, and avoid doing things besides sleeping in your bed(like for me I really need to stop doing my homework and other things like that in my bed). Maybe try to read a book before you fall asleep, turn on the white noise machine, and turn off lights and make your room as dark and cool as you can. You want to get a good, uninterrupted, 8 hours of sleep, and you should because your body does so many amazing things for you everyday, all day long(even while you sleep), so the least you can do is give your body 8 hours every night to relax and unwind and reboot. Not to mention sleep is important to your mental health(Mental health might be my next post, depending on what I get inspired by this upcoming week)
Thanks for reading everyone! You are all awesome. This was another long one, so thank you for sticking with me on this and reading through what I had to say. Please comment if you have any questions or comment if you have a topic you would like me to talk about.