Sleep for Gains

Garfield has the right idea.Counting sheep.  Sawing logs.  Call it what you want, but sleep is very important.  The past week I had a cold and learned first hand how important it is, not only for getting over a sickness/injury, but also training.  During the night, your body rebuilds and recovers from the day you have put it through.  Children and teens need a lot of sleep due to the fact that they are growing and constantly on the move.

First of all, if you don’t get enough sleep, you cannot concentrate.  I know that if I don’t get AT LEAST 8 hours, I am going to fall asleep in class.  It’s hard for me to get my homework done and I cannot hit the gym as hard either.  When you are tired, you are not pushing your body to the limits.  And that is the point of training.  Research has been shown that neurons (your nervous system’s cells) in your brain can actually shut down and repair themselves at night.  So without the proper amount of sleep, these repairs can’t be made.  It’s like trying to rebuild your top end a couple hours before a race.  You’re not going to do a good job and you will have a chance of the engine blowing up.

If you did a strength workout, your muscle is broken down during the day, but at night, it must rebuild with protein the body produces.  If you don’t get enough sleep, the rebuilding can’t be made.  For kids, growth hormones are released as well, so make sure the little tykes hit the sheets early.  If you did a cardio workout, the heart is under a lot of stress.  When you rest the cardiovascular system, the blood pressure is lowered and can take a break.  This helps reduce heart and cardiovascular disease.

For males on my dad’s side of the family, it’s hard to fall asleep.  And unfortunately, I’m cursed with the same thing.  If you have a hard time like I do, don’t drink any soda or caffeinated beverages…obviously.  A big thing for me, is exercising too close before bed.  Your heart rate is elevated and your blood pressure is up, this is the exact opposite of what you want before bed.  Other things to keep in mind are not to eat a big (spicy) meal, take medication, too stressed, noisy environment, or the room is too hot.  Make sure all of these are in line before hitting the sheets.

The nightly recommended amount of sleep for adults is 6.5 – 7.5 hours.  For some odd reason, if you sleep more than this, it can be just as bad as not getting enough sleep.  However, teens and kids need at least 8 hours.  Like I said, this is critical in not only training, but its flu season.  Get rested up and be ready to fight off anything that comes your way.


Posted on Sep 13 2009, under Training | No Comments »

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