Our body need sleep to repair and rebuild, it cannot do this while we’re moving around and using energy. If you are training, whether it be for strength, speed or endurance, all the hard effort you put in during sessions takes effect on the body while you are resting. We actually get stronger and fitter while we sleep, not while we are lifting weights in the gym or running on the trails.
Our brains need to assimilate all the information we download during the day and process a trillion bits of data in the form of smells, sights, sounds, tastes, that constantly bombards us while we are awake.
During daylight your body releases cortisol to stimulate movement and activity. Levels are highest between 6am – 9am, they remain high during midday but dip dramatically in the afternoon. At 6pm these decreasing cortisol levels allow for the release of melatonin to prepare us for rest and repair.
Between the hours of 10pm and 2am the body goes through a cycle of repair organ by organ. At 2am the psychological repair begins regardless of how much physical repair has been done. This lasts until we wake.Related Links
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You may have heard the term “hours before midnight are gold”. Well it’s true. Sleep we can get before midnight maximises our physical repair. Our hormones releases roughly follow the cycle of the sun. Light = stimulation = cortisol release = get up and move.
So no matter what your level of activity is during the day, sleep is on of the most important thing to reduce the risk of injuries, lower stress levels, speed up metabolism, and lower the risk of disease and illness. Yep, sleep can make you slimmer, happier, and all together healthier!
- Get to sleep by 10:30pm – ensure you plan enough wind down time prior to bed
- Reduce exposure to lights – lower lighting levels, or use candles in rooms towards bedtime
- Sleep in the dark – ensure your bed room is as cave like as it can be
- Drink water – if you are not properly hydrated your body will let you know by releasing stress hormones and waking you up.
- Simulate sunrise in the winter – wake up and fall asleep to fading light. Look at Lumie, for example.
- Electrical devices: Electrical devices emit electromagnetic pollution that can disrupt natural sleep/wake patterns. Move all powered alarm clocks etc at least 2mtrs from your bed.
- Stimulants: Avoid stimulants. Steer clear of nicotine, caffeine and sugar after lunch. Avoid desserts with dinner. Think about what you watch on TV prior to bed. Highly stressful TV programs, even the news, can raise cortisol levels.
- Exercise: Avoid excessive exercise in the evening. Rigorous training can release stress hormones and make it harder to sleep.
So there you have it. A few very good reasons to take a nanna nap in the afternoon or head to bed for that early night once in a while. Enjoy sleeping in the knowledge that your body is actively repairing, restoring and reviving!
What are your tips for a good nights sleep? Please share your ideas below.Sarah-Anne is a lifestyle & fitness coach, and founder of Karmea Fitness, helping you to live your best life through healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices. For more health and wellbeing ideas, visit the Karmea Fitness website.