Don’t lose…Just snooze

Recognising and understanding the importance of a regular sleep patterns is certainly taken a lot more seriously in today’s society. With the introduction of the modern tracking devices we have easier tools to monitor our sleep behaviour. I have to be honest and admit that poor sleep patterns is my biggest personal struggle. I enjoy cooking and eating foods to suit my goals and exercise plays a huge part of my life,  however when it comes to getting my head down at night I do struggle with consistent bed times. Today’s blog will provide information on why regular consistent sleep behaviour is so important no matter what your lifestyle or training goal is.

Firstly let’s talk about sleep itself. One definition from the Cambridge dictionary sums it up well “The resting state in which the body is not active and the mind is unconscious”

During the times when we’re asleep our bodies attempts to recover and replenish internally ready for us to go again the next day. Sleep can generally be categorised into 2 types R.E.M. and Non-REM and our body can switch between these 2 types during 5 different stages of a sleep cycle. A sleep cycle lasts on average 90 minutes. The first 1-3/4 stages are associated with Non-R.E.M. Sleep and stage 5  is R.E.M sleep.

Defined as Rapid Eye Movement, R.E.M. Sleep is the part of the sleep which relates to rapid/random eye movement. We can experience high frequency brain waves like that of being awake and you’ll experience regular vivid dreams. 

Non-R.E.M. Sleep is where minimal eye movement occurs. Three stages are generally classified here and are different with regards to their degrees of sensitivity from the environment. These are also known as sleep depth with stage three being the deepest with rare dreaming experiences.

The sleep foundation organisation recommends the following for sleep length:

 Adults (18-25): 7-9 hours

Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours 

Adults (65+): 7-8 hours

If we get poor levels of sleep, it can lead to the following  occurring:

– Immune system dropping to low levels

– Weight gain and water retention 

– Increased stress levels 

– Decrease in mental and physical performance 

– Muscle breakdown

Benefits of getting adequate amounts of sleep include:

– Better moods

– Increases physical and mental performance 

– Improves physical recovery

– Better weight management 

– Decreases risks of heart disease/Diabetes  

In conclusion do not underestimate the benefits of a good consistent sleep patterns, I know it’s something I need to work on!


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