Sunday, 27 April 2014 07:28

Get Your Sleep

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Get Your Sleep

 

In this day and age, we throw as much as we can possibly handle onto our respective life plate, but oftentimes neglect the importance of downtime and what is necessary for the body to repair from the stresses of everyday life. Here's a typical routine for most us – we get up early, stay up late and try tackle a shitload of things in between. Sure this might have us feel like we are being productive individuals but we often neglect to see just how beneficial downtime is to the overall big picture. You can't continuously go at everything 100mph and expect to continually progress. Ya gotta stop and take time to reflect and grow. And most importantly, allow proper time for your body to sleep.

During sleep, this is where recovery and bodily repair from the stresses of life takes place. On the outside, our bodies can appear to handle much stress, but at what cost to you? Hey, as long as I'm awake and doing work, that's a good thing, no? Yeah, you're tired as shit and you're still trying to concentrate on that report or other work that's due but you're mind is elsewhere. You're trying to get your shit done but you just want to get some shut eye. Well what if I told you that you could be much more productive and effective person by taking the time to let your body heal by getting in a solid night's of sleep. To understand why sleep is so important for us, let's first understand what sleep is and why a lack of sleep isn't good for short and long term goals.

Let's look a little deeper. So what exactly is sleep? According to the Merriam-Webster definition, sleep is the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored. In other words, sleep is a heightened anabolic state, where the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems, amongst other things, takes place. A lack of sleep sets off a whole chain of negative events in the body that can actually accumulate over time and put the body in a state of turmoil.

When the body is in a constant state of trying to repair itself in the absence of proper sleep, you severely limit your goals and functionality as a human being let alone trying to pack on mass. So sure, you may be putting in the time in the gym, following that great bodybuilding diet and you think you've got it all down, but all that hard work can really be impeded and put to a halt as your body tries to repair itself in absence of sleep. To put things into perspective, here is a list of bodily processes that get shot to hell while being sleep deprived...

• Wound healing is diminished
• Immune system is compromised
• Decreased growth hormone production
• Lower basal metabolic rate (lower metabolism)
• Decreased anabolism
• Increased catabolism
• Working memory is compromised
• Overall cognitive function is decreased
• Fat gain
• Decreased muscle growth
• Insulin resistance
• Ability to metabolize glucose is lessened
• Cortisol levels are higher
• Hypertension

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Now one or two nights here with a few hours less sleep wont' be the end of the world, however, if lack of sleep becomes habitual, this is where you really need to take some action. Sleep deprivation on a routine basis, is where the above issues really come into play.

So what do you do about it? There really are no hard and fast rules on exactly how much sleep one needs but keep in mind its importance in the overall big picture for your goals in life. If you wake up feeling tired and your performance is suffering during the day, it's time you take a look at your quality of sleep and its role in your life. Where can you improve things? Is it stress? Are you staying up late watching TV? Wasting time playing video games? Taking too many stimulants during the day? Experiencing hardships in life? Essentially, ya gotta assess what the reason is why you're not sleeping well and look introspectively to see what's messing up your sleep.

Even if the world hurls its problems your way, try to establish a nighttime ritual so that when you do prepare for sleep, all other issues are put on hold till ya wake up. This may sound very new age and Zen-like but something like meditation prior to bed can be helpful in getting your body into a restful mode. Ideally, establish a set of habits that you follow consistently to ensure a healthy sleep cycle. Assess the things that keep you up and eliminate them. If sleep problems persist even after establishing healthy sleep guidelines, you should seek the help of a professional.

Now how can you tell if you're getting enough sleep? Regardless of the amount of hours you're sleeping, if you wake up easily in the morning and rarely ever need the services of an alarm clock, and if you can make it through the entire day without running out of steam or feeling drowsy, this is a tell-tale sign that you're getting some good sleep in. It may take being introspective and looking within to find out one's sleep ailments, but if lack of sleep is holding ya back from being a more productive person in and out of the gym, compromising your gains in the gym, affecting your overall approach to life, ya gotta get that shit in check so that you can reach your true potential. Get your quality Z's in the PM and you set yourself up for success the rest of the day.

Read 30479 times Last modified on Friday, 23 May 2014 08:10