Sleep can give you energy; it repairs muscles, balances hormones, fuels your workout, and gets you through the day. Exercise can help to improve your sleep, boost energy, enhance your mood, and bolster your metabolism.
A lack of either exercise or sleep is destructive to the body; lack of exercise can result in obesity and cardiovascular disease, and chronic sleep deprivation can lead to many problems including heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.
So, the importance of rest and, in particular, sleep cannot be overstated, and we all know the importance of regular exercise for a healthy life. But on the days when you can barely hold your eyes open, you shouldn’t feel guilty about missing your workout and ‘hitting the hay’. Sleep can, in fact, be one of the best workouts you give your body, enabling it to rest and recover enough to be more vigorous with your exercise the next day.
Below are some tips for how to get a good night’s sleep:
Avoid Electronics Before Bed
‘Easier said than done’ I hear you say, but experts agree that the blue light emitted from computers, mobile phones, iPads, and televisions shuts down the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body that typically begins to rise in mid- to late-afternoon to help encourage sleep. Blue light-emitting electronics that shut down the production of melatonin. Try putting away your gadgets and pick up a book a couple hours before bed instead.
Be Careful what you eat Before Bed
Every time you eat, your body responds by producing hormones that initiate the chemical reactions necessary to break down, and digest those foods. Eating foods with a high glycaemic index sets off a roller coaster reaction of excessive insulin production followed by cortisol and adrenaline to counteract the high.
In other words, avoid caffeine, alcohol and high-sugar, high-carbohydrate foods in the hours before bed. While alcohol and comfort foods may seem to induce sleep, the body’s metabolising process initiates a stress response which could make you wake up, and possibly remain awake.
Consider a High-Quality Mattress
Good beds can be expensive, but when looking at your health, particularly how you feel every day, and your energy level, a high-quality mattress is worth the investment.
This is particularly true if you’re active because sleep is when your body rests, recovers, and recuperates. It’s when your muscles rebuild and repair. It’s when your brain performs important functions such as assimilating the information accumulated throughout the day, creating new neural pathways and connections.
Consider Supplements With Caution
There are a lot of supplements on the market which claim to support sleep, but I would advise caution because few good studies have been done.
As with using supplementation for any reason, research them thoroughly and make sure there have been third-party studies done to support their claims.