Sleep, The Real Importance of it!

Sleep

 The Real Importance of Sleep!

 

Sleep

About a third of your life is actually spent sleeping!!!

And did you know that the amount of energy saved every time you sleep is so unsubstantial. Getting the normal eight hours of sleep only amounts to about 50 kilo calories, or what is equivalent to the energy that can be had for eating a piece of toast. If that is the case, what then is the fuss about getting enough sleep in order for our body to have a chance to recharge and recuperate from its daily activities?

“Why do we sleep?”

is a question that has eluded many scientists and researchers for many centuries. Until now, they still cannot give a definite answer as to why we sleep. All they could offer is the fact that sleep is absolutely essential in maintaining the normal and healthy function of our brains. We have to sleep in order to develop normal levels of cognitive skills such as speech, memory, innovative and flexible thinking.

A better way to understand the significance of sleep would be to ask the question, “What happens if we don’t sleep?” Now, we can come up with several answers to this question based on our very own experiences.

Lack of Sleep

People who lack sleep exhibit very unpleasant behavior such as being sluggish, irritable, grouchy, and forgetful. Obviously, a lack of sleep has serious effects on our brain functions. Sleep deprivation results in the inability to focus and concentrate, or having a shorter attention span compared to when we are fully rested. Inadequacy of sleep impairs certain parts of the brain that are responsible for the control of our cognitive functions, our ability to respond to stimuli, in making decisions and rational judgments. But lack of sleep is not only a matter of having an “off day”, or being irritable, or lacking energy. Who would have thought that lack of sleep can be a contributory factor attributed to a number of disastrous events such as the Chernobyl Nuclear Tragedy and the Challenger Shuttle Explosion? Sleep deprivation, when taken to the extreme, can lead to human error and even catastrophic consequences.


Sleep Disorders

Sleep deprivation weakens or slows down our cognitive functions. It poses very serious risks to our mental, emotional and physical health.

But what causes lack of sleep in the first place?

Disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea have been the leading causes of sleep deprivation. These conditions have been associated with stress, obesity and high blood pressure, among others.

People often think health and fitness is all about exercising and eating properly but in reality its all about maintaining a lifestyle of making the right choices together, so If you eat right, have a healthy lifestyle you should also compliment it with a good nap and a regular pattern of refreshing sleep.

All too often we hear about people fitting in 36 hours of work and research in a 24 hour day. Sleep is often disregarded and we have come to forget the true value of sleep. We live hectic lives complaining about being tired and adding things to our busy schedule. How many times have you heard “I will catch up on my sleep on the weekend” or “this weekend I’m going to sleep a lot”?



Do not get confused, we need sleep, sleep is not something you can put off for days at a time.
Sleep is a necessity, a biological necessity!

We do live sophisticated and advanced lives. We must also remember that our brains and bodies are governed by biological functions and needs. Sleep is integral to the way our bodies function – so important, in fact, that if we are totally deprived of sleep for an extended period of time, we will die.

There are five stages of sleep, each stage has its own properties and benefits. Together, all these stages allow our bodies to rejuvenate and regenerate themselves.

Every part of the body is affected – the brain, nervous system, immune system, hormones, emotions, heart, lungs, and the list goes on.


If we want to…

  • live longer
  • keep our bodies strong and healthy
  • keep our emotions positive and balanced
  • help our brain stay sharp and focused
  • improve our memory

…then we need to recognize the importance of sleep.

We should not look at needing rest as a weakness instead we need to learn to invite sleep as an ally who wants to help us enjoy life to the fullest because the better the sleep the better the life – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I hope this post opens your mind to the importance of sleep and may you implement it in your fitness training. Below you will find some tips and link on how to sleep better.

My story about getting better sleep =)

All throughout college my friends wondered about me and how I could maintain two jobs and go to college full-time. It seemed impossible to them, they could not wrap their heads around the idea of so much daily work and study, so when they asked me… How do you do it? Whats your secret?

My answer was simple… “SLEEP!”

Knowing when to sleep and take naps changed my life for the better. Sometimes a 2 hour “siesta” refreshed my mind and gave me more energy to continue on.  Other times a good 20 minute nap refreshed my mind and eyes. I also put aside time to sleep a good six to eight hours on days where I knew it would allow me to retain what I had learned and improve my ability to focus for exams.

Now I also meditate regularly and sleep very deeply.

Here are some tips for better sleep!

Make sleep important in your life, set aside time and make sure the conditions are right to sleep deeply.

You should maintain a normal sleep cycle, it usually takes 30 days to fully change your cycle.(This varies from person to person)

Have a ritual before bed, some people read books, some write down what they need to do the next day, some people take baths with aromas that induce sleep and others just have clothes or music that help them get into their groove.

Set the mood, play slow music preferably with no words. Dim the lights. Light some candles, breathe and clear your mind of all the hardships from the day.

Try not to eat directly before sleep, your last meal or snack should be 2 hours before bed time. eating directly before bed may give you unwanted surge of energy and confuses your body rather than naturally shutting down.

Do not use your bed for studying and doing work, let your bed be used specifically for sleep, so that when you lay there it triggers the desire to sleep and be at peace.

Use a sleep mask to cover your eyes and cut down all visual stimuli from keeping you awake this also allows you to sleep better when the sun comes up. This may take a while to get used to, but its worth it!

Make your bed cozy and comfortable! I really mean it. Get new pillows, new sheets, and let them be calming natural earth tones or a nice shade that relaxes you rather than awakens your spirit!

Meditate before bed, this has dramatically improved my sleep and will improve yours! Just sit upright for about 20-40 minutes breathe in , exhale and clear your mind. Let your mind be still, count your breaths or chant your favorite mantra. Remember the first 5 minutes your brain is running around through the clutter, it will pass!
Eventually you will lose track of time and if your near your bed you will easily fall into sleep. The underlying idea is to clear your head before you lay down, this improves the amount of oxygen getting to your blood and brain, essentially this allows you to sleep more deeply and rejuvenate better.

I hope you sleep like a baby! zzz… 😉

Your friend in fitness,
Fitness Buyer Miguel


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About The Author

FitnessbuyerMiguel

New York, New York

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