In a world where everyone seems to be telling us that we need to go faster and harder – sleep can often be sacrificed. Sometimes there just isn't enough hours in the day. Or, perhaps, for some of us you get to a point where sleep is actually the first thing on our mind if we get that worn out– but it might be proving difficult to get as much as we need due to the lifestyle we are living. Regardless we all require good sleep, and if you are trying to improve your fitness level amongst a hectic life, then you really require more, and better quality sleep than others.


The Science Behind Slumber

 R.E.M is a special sleep phase that we can only “access” once we’ve been asleep for roughly four hours. When we enter the R.E.M sleep mode, our bodies start to restore at an accelerated rate – everything from cell regeneration to hormone circulation is amplified, meaning that we are able to completely“heal” or recover. When you consider that the main aim of any training regimen is to adapt to the stimulus placed on the body and ultimately, to evolve – what could be more important for recovery than the R.E.M sleep mode? Even fat burning is amplified during this vital sleep phase – if your results have been stagnating, a lack of sleep could genuinely be the reason why.


Make It Work

When you consider that some people don’t have more than four hours sleep per night, the average person's time spent in R.E.M sleep mode simply isn’t enough. If you couple this with an exhaustive training routine and busy lifestyle, then it’s really easy to see why only a select few people seem to get the results they’re looking for from their training. It’s incredibly important that you actively make the time to sleep as you do to train and eat healthily – so often, people don’t apply the same level of discipline to their sleeping regime as they do their training and eating regime. This is an enormous “no-no” and a catalyst for not only stagnation, but also diminished training returns.

It’s time to start cutting back on the evening television during the hour before sleeping, and if need be, to move activities around so that you can get to bed in good enough time to be able to get a full 8 hours sleep. Plan ahead – wind down your use of technology, stay away from loud music, and switch off screens. Curl up in bed with a good book,and allow yourself to gently disappear into your own thoughts and drift off to snoozeville. If you know that your sleep hasn’t been great lately, and you’re frustrated that you aren’t seeing better results from the hard work you’ve been putting into the gym – it’s time for you to act and put good sleep to “bed” once and for all.

In addition, lack of sleep ends up affecting other areas of your life- it can slow your metabolism, cause depression, cause unwanted breakouts, and increase blood pressure which could put a lot of strain on your heart (since it may be working in overdrive).  Particularly with exercise- it is meant to be positive and enhance your life.  If your tired and workout on top of that, your workout will certainly suffer and you could cause injuries. Disregarding the importance of quality sleep is only counterproductive.

Written by Allyson Welch

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