When you think of health and fitness you probably think first and foremost of hard work, right? Putting in the time and energy for 5-7 days of workouts that take your body to and past limits that you didn’t you would ever push passed. Eating healthy and nutritious food in order to help your body maintain the proper levels of energy and endurance to get you through. . .
But how do you feel about your sleep at night? Not as important as making your workouts, right? Wrong.
Sleep is a time meant for our body to restore and replenish what we lost during the day, and especially if you are doing a regular workout routine – sleep is NEEDED to push past plateaus, continue to get results, and to progress to new levels of fitness.
The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person. The typical is “8 hours”; however; I am someone when I get 8 hours, I am exhausted the rest of the day! My “sweet spot” for sleep is about 5 1/2 – 6 hours. That is when I find myself to be most alert throughout the day, clear headed, and feel the most balanced.
So how do you know if you are getting enough Zzz’s? Here’s a hint – if you are doing any of these activities you probably aren’t!!
- Continuous yawning throughout the day
- Fatigue while driving
- Hitting the snooze more than once in the morning
- Sore muscles or decreased endurance during your regular workouts
- Memory lapses
- Mood swings
Now, I am not a doctor and all of those signs and symptoms could be a red flag for something more serious, and if you are experiencing them with adequate rest, health, and fitness please see your physician – but if they come and go you might just need a bit more sleep.
Naps are great if they are short & sweet – but regularly scheduled naps at our age screw up our circadian rhythm and make our bodies feel like it doesn’t need as much quality shut eye overnight. If you really need a nap -go for it – but don’t make it a habit unless you have to for medical reasons, otherwise your sleep could suffer.
Oh and another tip – sometimes “fatigue” and “brain fog” is a sign of dehydration – so any time you are tired reach for your H20!!
Remember: rest is just as important as the hard work that you put in to your workouts. Our bodies really are machines, and many various factors work together to make them great. Please don’t deprive one of those necessary systems and screw yourself out of the best possible results!