Sweet Sleep

sleep

Sleep. Sometimes we get more of it. Sometimes we get less. Often there are things that distract us from resting peacefully. Sometimes we sleep like the dead.

We know we need it, yet we tend to burn the candle at both ends. I am more of a night owl than anything. Yet my alarm and rise time is 6’ish each morning and I know that. I’ve disciplined myself whether it’s a weekend, school is off or on, or whatever, to get up at the same time.

So when I make choices to stay up late, I understand I am eating into my rest time.

Sometimes, I don’t care ๐Ÿ˜›

Another way to understand your need for rest? Turn into an endurance athlete and you will welcome pillow time ๐Ÿ˜› ย I have my deepest sleeps after long training days.

This is how I’ve learned to consider “rest and sleep” as valuable as how I eat or train. Sleep is crucial for our bodies, athlete or not. I’ve learned if I’m going to train well, I need to make sure my body has proper rest to heal and recover from what it goes through. Sleep is as important to health as eating well and getting exercise.

First of all, what IS sleep?

Sleep is a naturally recurring state of mind and body characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles, and reduced interactions with surroundings.

Sleep is an important part of your daily routineโ€”you spend about one-third of your time doing it.ย  Quality sleep โ€“ and getting enough of it at the right times — is as essential to survival as food and water.ย  Without sleep you canโ€™t form or maintain the pathways in your brain that let you learn and create new memories, and itโ€™s harder to concentrate and respond quickly.

Stages of sleep.

There are actually two basicย stages of sleep.

REM (rapid eye movement) and non-rem which has 3 stages. You cycle through all stages in a night with increasingly longer REM periods closer to morning.

Stage 1 rem sleep is the change over from wakefulness to sleep.ย  It is a short period of relatively light sleep.

Stage 2 non-rem sleep is a period of light sleep before entering deeper sleep. You spend more of your repeated sleep cycles in stage 2 sleep than in other sleep stages.

Stage 3 non-rem sleep is the deep sleep you need to feel refreshed in the morning.ย  It occurs in longer periods during the first part of the night. You areย so relaxed this is when it would be very difficult to wake you.

REM sleep occurs about 90 minutes after fallingย asleep.

Your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids.ย  Mixed frequency brain wave activity becomes closer to that seen in wakefulness.ย  Your breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels.ย  Most of your dreaming occurs during REM sleep, although some can also occur in non-REM sleep.ย  Your arm and leg muscles become temporarily paralyzed, which prevents you from acting out your dreams. ( Isn’t that freaky?! I always just thought it was a weird feeling I had)ย  As you age, you sleep less of your time in REM sleep.ย  Memory consolidation most likely requires both non-REM and REM sleep.

How much sleep do you need?

Sleep and sleep patterns change and vary as we age and there is no “magic number” of sleep that works for everyone. We are all different and have different needs and requirements. Most adults need 7-9 hours a night. A few may get by on less and do fine. Others require more.

Cutting your hours during the week thinking you can “make it up on the weekend”? No… there is no making up sleep. Try to get adequate rest during week so you don’t feel a need to make it up.

Getting good rest is vital for your overall health and wellness.

Below are a few suggestions for a good nights rest:

Set a schedule โ€“ go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

Exercise 20 to 30 minutes a day but no later than a few hours before going to bed.

Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day and alcoholic drinks before bed.

Avoid eating big meals.

Relax before bed โ€“ try a warm bath, reading, or another relaxing routine.

Create a room for sleep โ€“ avoid bright lights and loud sounds, keep the room at a comfortable temperature, and donโ€™t watch TV or have a computer in your bedroom.

Donโ€™t lie in bed awake.ย  If you canโ€™t get to sleep, do something else, like reading or listening to music, until you feel tired.

See a doctor if you have a problem sleeping or if you feel unusually tired during the day.ย  Most sleep disorders can be treated effectively.

Of course there are lots of “smart” ways people are tracking their rest time now days.ย  Smart phone apps, bedside monitors, and wearable devices ( like smart watches, fit bits etc)ย  all give us a look at how our rest time goes. I have a Garmin Vivoactive HR and for almost a year now I’ve been able to track my sleep patterns ( among a lot of other things!)ย  seeing my data can convict me if I feel I need more rest, or confirm that yes, I did indeed rest well last night.

Sleep is one of the essentials we all require for a healthy productive life. Make sure you are taking steps to get adequate amounts to have strong, alert,ย energetic days, every day.

 

 

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Published by

Sassyfitnesschick

8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the fun...so adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

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