One of the most overlooked aspects in health and fitness is recovery. Most people focus on nutrition and exercise, but recovery is just as important. Sleep is one of the most important forms of recovery that our bodies need in order to operate.
Sleep allows our bodies to restore energy, heal damaged muscles, and much more. After workouts that put the body through stress, or after such a long day of working that you can’t see straight, you need to rest properly so that you can do it all again the next day. The optimal amount of sleep to strive for is 7 to 9 hours per night, as that will allow the body to fully recover each day.
Without proper sleep we lack the energy necessary to be proficient in completing our tasks throughout the day. Have you ever tried to work an 8-hour day with 4 hours of sleep the night before, or tried to workout at 5 in the morning after going to bed at midnight? Likely, it did not go well. An example of an easy fix would be to implement an earlier bedtime routine to establish the habit, or to prepare everything you might need for the next day the night before so you can sleep a longer.
This may not be possible all the time. Jobs can require you to work extra hours, an emergency comes out of nowhere, or you have kids. Still, as much as you can, and when possible, sleep as long as you can. Even if this means taking a power nap during the day, that can be beneficial to your overall health in ways you do not normally think about.
So, put down the phone, turn off the TV, or even put down the book at the appropriate time. Do not sacrifice sleep for things that don’t matter so much. You WILL thank yourself the next day. You will be more productive, retain what you learn, and just be a healthier, happier person. So, go get some sleep!
- Ryan Reilly