Is Sleep Really That Important?
Sleep is more than just something we do at the end of our day. One-third of our life is generally spent sleeping. Sleep is a mandatory activity, not an option. According to the National Institution of Health and National Center of Sleep Disorder Research, sleep is vital for normal motor and cognitive function and required for survival. Consequences include, but are not limited to difficulty concentrating, memory lapses, decrease of energy, fatigue, lethargy, emotional instability, change in hormone levels, and changes to overall sleeping patterns. 1
How much sleep do you need?
According to the National Sleep Foundation adults (18+ years) need 7-9 hours per night. There is “no magic number” because your sleep results from two different factors that researchers are learning about: a person’s basal sleep need – the amount of sleep our bodies need on a regular basis for optimal performance – and sleep debt, the accumulated sleep that is lost to poor sleep habits, sickness, awakenings due to environmental factors or other causes. 2 Therefore, trial and error will be the best way to determine how much sleep is ideal for you.
How does sleep affect your life and WOD?
Increased sleepiness. The less you sleep, the greater the sleep debt you accumulate, the more fatigued you will experience throughout the day making work and exercise a greater challenge.
Reduced energy. Sleep deficiency decreases your body’s ability to store glycogen (energy) that you need during your workouts.
Hormone changes. The release of growth hormone is related in part to repair processes that occur during sleep. 1 This means that when you are sleeping your body is not only repairing the damage you caused to your muscles during the WOD, it is also stimulating muscle growth. Another hormone that is affected is Cortisol, levels increase in relation to sleep deprivation. An increase in cortisol levels wrecks havoc on your body by stimulating abdominal fat formation, decreasing muscle mass, decreasing healing, increase in sleep disruptions and impairs cognitive performance. Changes in either hormone will inhibit your performance and goals in and out of the box.
What does this all mean?
If you are not sleeping the recommended amount of 7-9 hours a night, maybe its time to MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY.
1 “Information about sleep,” National Institution of Health, National Center of Sleep Disorder Research, and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institution, 24 April 2014. http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih3/sleep/guide/info-sleep.htm.
2 “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?,” National Sleep Institution, 24 April 2014. http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need.