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8 hours sleep a night

When people think about improving their health, they always consider diet and exercise. Sleep is neglected by many people and is an essential part of any health and fitness goal.

The need to sleep is a fundamental human need. This is because all human abilities (like paying attention, memory recall and learning) are made worse by poor sleep and there is an intimate relationship between sleep and many psychological conditions for example, depression and anxiety. Research also shows poor sleep had been linked to cancer and many other conditions.

Are you getting 8 hours sleep a night?

For the first 4 hours of sleep the body recovers mentally and for the last four hours of sleep the body recovers physically. If you are getting 5 hours sleep a night you are only recovering for 1 hour physically. If you are training hard your body is under a great amount of physical stress and not sleeping properly will hinder your fitness results, especially if you are trying to lose fat.

Link between sleep and your fitness goals

Poor sleep is linked to

  • Increase 2 hormones- Insulin and cortisol both of which increase fat storage around the mid-section when raised.
  • Lowers growth hormone levels which are essential to losing fat and increasing muscle mass.
  • Poor sleep is linked to illness such as breast cancer and depression.
  • Energy level - when you sleep the body repairs tissue and gets you ready for the day ahead.

How to get better nights tonight

  • Keep a log- lots of people go to bed with things on mind, this will keep you awake and could even raise cortisol levels if you are finding it stressful.
  • Cortisol needs to be at its lowest before bed to help you sleep.
  • Take magnesium- magnesium is a relaxant and an essential mineral the body needs, it helps to reduce cortisol, keeps the heart healthy and will even help you lose umbilicus fat.
  • Avoid sugar before bed- raising blood sugar levels before bed will keep you awake or wake you up between the hours of 1am and 3am.
  • Sleep in the dark- Our bodies respond best to the pitch black, the production of melatonin and serotonin which are what send us to sleep are only stimulated in the pitch black. Even the slightest bit of light in the room can mess up there production.
  • Relax - Try to relax before getting into bed, try not to watch television or be on the computer immediately before bed. Try to do relaxing things such as read a book or get a nice warm bath.
Posted on 24th February 2012

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