We need more sleep because we were not designed to be awake each day for 24 hours. I know in today’s society, a lot of us try and are successful at staying awake for 24 hours.
However, I am sure it came with consequences right?
How much coffee or red bull did you have to drink to do it? How did you feel when you finally did get some sleep? I bet that the next morning when you woke up felt horrible, didn’t you?
In today’s blog, I want to highlight three reasons why we all need more sleep. I hope these three things are simple enough for us to put into practice NOW!
#1. Growth Hormone
There is a hormone that our bodies produce called growth hormone. Without it, we make it harder for us to get bigger muscles. Growth hormone also helps with getting rid of body fat and it helps our bones retain calcium. Wow, sounds like pretty important stuff right? Well, if we are not getting enough sleep in general, and enough quality sleep, then, our growth hormone can’t work like it should.
During good sleep, our bodies use something called leptin to control our hunger feelings. Well, this hormone can only do its job properly with a good night’s rest. Leptin helps to curb our appetites and gives us a satisfied feeling. However, if we are not getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night (ideal sleep time), then another hormone, ghrelin, will work for us. This is the hormone that gets released to let us know that we are hungry.
We want ghrelin to work for us when we are actually hungry, not because we did not get a good night’s rest. If you’ve awoken starving, it could have been from a lack of quality sleep!
#3. Exercise Suffers
Yep, all that hard work you’ve been putting into exercise becomes null and void without proper sleep. One of the great benefits of lifting weights is the increase in muscle size and as a result, better metabolism that leads to weight loss. Well, lack of sleep is an enemy to protein synthesis (how our bodies make muscle). If your muscles are not getting stronger and/or bigger, then, your metabolism is not working for you.
Also, inadequate sleep leads to your body having a harder time recovering from your workouts. If you cannot recover from your workouts, then you could potentially 1.) injure yourself and 2.) have less slow-wave sleep.
We need more sleep. There is no way around this, folks! Sleep really does our bodies well. I recommend we at least do the following to get more sleep:
- Go to bed one hour earlier than you normally do.
- Shut down all electronics one hour prior to going to bed.
- Drink something soothing like chamomile tea
Maurice D. Williams is the owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD, and Assistant Professor of Health & Human Performance at Freed-Hardeman University. He is a NASM Master Instructor and Master Trainer, and is also certified with NASM as a Corrective Exercise Specialist, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Senior Fitness Specialist & Weight Loss Specialist, and as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by NSCA.