Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Sleep Is Fundamental to Your Body's Recovery

Picture by Humphrey Muleba from Unsplash

Exercise is fundamental to maintaining a healthy body. However, if it is not supported by the appropriate levels and quality of rest, your fitness goals will become more difficult to achieve. The physical demand of working out may also make a more significant impact on your body’s health if it is not balanced with the opportunity to recover. This could lead to illness and injury.

Recovery Process

At night, the body releases hormones to slow down breathing, reduce blood pressure, and relax the muscles. The pineal gland secretes somatotropin, the growth hormone, in large quantities to facilitate muscle repair. Oxygen and blood are redirected from the brain to the muscles to support tissue repair. The immune system releases small proteins, called cytokines, to reduce inflammation. This is similar to how our body reacts when it is injured. Exercise is essentially causing controlled damage to your body so it can improve itself.

Sleep Deprivation Study

Research on the relation between sleep and damaged muscle tissue revealed 'sleep plays a permissive role in the regeneration of damaged muscle tissue.' The study discusses health issues arising from the lack of sleep. Most notably, the research found muscle degeneration in the test subjects. Without high-quality and regular sleep before and after exercise, the positive effects of exercise are weakened.
Improve Sleep Quality and Aid Muscle Repair

Below are a few suggestions to incorporate into your night-time routine, to support and enhance your body's recovery.
  • Invest in a mattress that fulfills your body's needs. If you suffer from back pain, eachnight advises the best mattress for back pain will 'conform to the body, relieve pressure points, and provide full-body support.' Search for a mattress from a reputable supplier that provides quality beds, since budget-friendly mattresses deteriorate quickly.

  • Exclude light from your bedroom, such as natural light, lamps, and mobile devices. Light exposure, such as blue light emitted from mobile devices, prevents the body from producing melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep. Switching off your mobile device also stops the body's recovery from being interrupted at night by text alerts.

  • Adults should sleep at least 7 to 9 hours a night. However, for those who exercise, research suggests lengthening your sleep beyond this is beneficial for your body's recovery. For instance, athletes reportedly sleep longer to maximize muscle growth.

  • According to the US Library of National Medicine, a recent study conducted on a group of men revealed 'protein-rich beverages improve overnight muscle protein synthesis.' Protein synthesis is a natural process that repairs muscles after an intense workout. A nutritious, protein-rich diet and plenty of water will replenish your body and aid muscle restoration while you sleep.
While a good night’s rest or an extra hour in bed may seem like a luxury, it should be treated as a part of your physical regime. If you fail to give your body an appropriate time to repair, pushing it the extra mile won’t deliver the results you are hoping for. Make sure that every run and workout is balanced with a sustained and comfortable sleep.

This is a guest blog entry.

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