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How Does Sleep Affect Your Fitness?

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

Sleep has been called an athlete’s steroid. When we don’t get proper sleep,

our health and fitness suffers. Getting the proper rest aids recovery from

tough games and workouts. Sleep boosts energy, improves mood and

enhances physical performance during exercise sessions.

Importance of Healthy Sleep

Sleep restores what happens when we are awake, the brain integrates new

information, organizes memory and the body repairs nerve cells and tissues.

Poor sleep makes it difficult to perform the simplest of tasks, including

difficulty remembering things. There is a link between sleep deprivation and

many psychological disorders, including depression.

Some of the most common symptoms of chronic poor sleep are irritability,

memory loss, high blood pressure, headaches, and muscle aches. A lack of

sleep can also contribute to overall fatigue, hypertension and diabetes. Most

adults need at least 8 hours of healthy sleep each night, teens and schoolaged

children need 9-11 hours.

Lack of Sleep & Weight Gain

Chronic lack of sleep can alter hormones in the blood that control appetite

and promote weight gain. How? Sleep deprivation decreases levels of leptin,

a satiety-promoting hormone (makes us feel full or satisfied after eating),

and increases levels of ghrelin, an appetite-promoting hormone. This results

in increased signals to the brain to eat and decreased signals telling the

brain we’ve eaten enough.

Tips to Get a Good Nights Rest

- Limit TV and/or alcohol before bed

- Decrease the temperature in the house or bedroom

- Get lots of daylight, but avoid bright light before bedroom

- Only nap 15 to 20 minutes in the early afternoon, if necessary

- Eat three to four hours before bed and avoid heavy meals

- Try meditation, reading, listening to soothing music or a warm bath or

other nighttime rituals

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