There isn’t an athlete alive that hasn’t felt tired from time to time. Even if you aren’t overtraining, you likely experience occasional fatigue not only from your exercise routine, but also from the demands of your busy life.
There has never been a more important time to prioritize the healthy habit of sleep.
Every bit as important as diet and exercise, a regular seven or more hours of deep sleep is critical to long-term health. Doctors, psychologists, sports trainers, and coaches are jumping on the sleep bandwagon, prescribing sleep for optimal achievement. Not convinced?
Here are just six critical functions of your nightly rest.
Sleep Benefits You Need to Achieve
1. Deep sleep repairs heart and blood vessels. While you rest, your body protects you against the long-term damage of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This important repair work to your heart and blood vessels can only occur during sleep. Those who get less than six hours a night have a much higher risk of heart attack or stroke.
2. Deep sleep regulates appetite and metabolism. Each night, your body takes advantage of your sleeping hours to re-regulate your hormones, including those that control hunger. As a result, you will experience less hunger and feel satisfied sooner. Also, sleep restores a healthy metabolism, so you will more efficiently use the calories you do consume and put on less weight overall.
3. Deep sleep manages growth hormone. Not just for children and teens, growth hormone is key to adult long-term health. Your body uses this hormone to rebuild muscle tissue and bone, helping you heal faster, exercise safer, and live longer. You need this to repair damage done daily during workout and regular wear-and-tear.
4. Deep sleep minimizes inflammatory proteins. Guard against the aches and pains of arthritis with restorative sleep. Those who sleep longer are at less risk of osteoarthritis, and even chronic inflammatory arthritis sufferers experience a decrease in symptoms with more sleep.
5. Deep sleep maximizes the immune system. During sleep, your immune system is strengthened and restored, helping you fight off common illnesses and protecting you against disease. Conversely, those who sleep less than seven hours each night experience fewer sick days and are more prone to serious disease and disability.
6. Deep sleep improves brain function. One of the most critical of all sleep benefits is the tremendous renewal of mental ability. During sleep, your brain builds new pathways to work more efficiently, while memories are organized effectively for better recall later. This results in faster reaction time, better decision-making skills, less stress, and heightened sense of confidence during the day. This may be why athletes who sleep close to ten hours on a regular basis overcome obstacles and achieve their goals faster.
These are just a few of the powerful benefits of regular restorative sleep. Be sure to schedule seven to ten hours each night to ensure you are maximizing your health and making the most of every waking hour.