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Why getting enough sleep is key to your fitness

September, 2020

Leading an active and healthy life isn’t just about going for a run 3 times a week or hitting the gym on a regular basis.

Sleep is important too.

Not only do we need to keep up with our fitness and also ensure we eat well and in moderation, but we also need to get enough sleep.

So, why is getting enough sleep key to your fitness?

Why sleep is important

Sleep has a bigger impact on us than simply being tired the next day.

Getting a proper night’s sleep allows your body time to recover especially if you have been exercising that day. It also allows you to conserve and build up energy and repair muscles. In fact, it helps to produce growth hormones too.

We’ve already looked at how exercising and using a PT can help boost your mental health but sleep has similar advantages.

Poor sleep can increase the impact of mental health problems and it can exacerbate conditions such as anxiety and depression.

How much sleep should you get?

We’re always told that getting 8 hours of sleep per night is ideal and that’s what we should aim for.

In a way this is broadly true. For most adults getting between 7 and 9 hours per night is recommended for a healthy sleep pattern. Obviously this can vary somewhat between people but that is the general rule.

So, this is what you should aim for because getting the right amount of sleep for your age, sex and health can make all the different to a healthy life. You can find information on the recommended hours for sleep here.

Tips to get more sleep at night

It is easy to say you need to get a certain amount of hours of sleep per night but as we all know, it can be difficult. This is why I have some tips to get a proper night’s sleep which will also work to boost your fitness levels too.

Get into a routine

This is vital for a good night’s sleep. Start to wind down an hour or before you go to bed and engage in some peaceful activities such as reading or even meditation. If you can, resist the urge to lie in bed with your phone.

Be wary of caffeine

Let’s clear something up – some people can have a cup of coffee before bed and sleep absolutely fine. Others will be up most of the night.

Know what your caffeine limits are. If you have coffee in the afternoon and can’t sleep at night then cut it out and don’t drink caffeine after midday.

Exercise frequently

You should avoid doing strenuous exercise right before bed as it can impact on your ability to sleep however regular exercise will improve your sleep pattern.

Don’t just lie in bed awake

If you are finding yourself awake at night don’t just lie there staring at the ceiling. Get up and do something you find peaceful and relaxing. It should help to put your mind at ease so when you return to bed you can hopefully nod off.

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