How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?

We are constantly reminded how sleep is essential to our everyday lives. From cognitive functionality, healing, to your skill level in the studio – studies show that sleep is critical to your body’s performance in quite literally everything you do.

Every adult requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep, and those who are very physically active might need a little more. However, no matter who you are, or your level of physical activity, sleep is a critical determinant in your mental and physical well being and the truth is that most of us do not receive nearly enough of it to maintain a healthy lifestyle. So how much do you actually need? Read on to discover if you’re receiving enough sleep to perform at your absolute best on a daily basis.

How much sleep do we really need?

The effects of sleep loss are extremely detrimental to your mental and physical health

- even if it’s just a couple of hours of sleep lost each night. In fact, the risk of sleep deprivation is not only to one’s self - many national organizations like Harvard Medical and the CDC list sleep loss as a serious danger to public safety. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a day’s worth of sleeplessness can result in similar performance as someone with a BAC of .10 - about one drink over the legal driving limit.

According to the England’s National Health Services, some of the other common side effects of sleep loss include:

  • Weight gain caused by:

  • Increased appetite

  • Increase in cortisol and ghrelin production (the “hunger hormone”)

  • Decreased metabolism

  • Increased heart rate

  • Long-term mood disorders, including depression and anxiety

  • Decreased sex-drive

  • Chronic health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes

  • Fatigue and mental fog

  • Memory loss

  • Compromised immune system

Sleep Needed After Exercise

In addition to a healthy diet, quality sleep produces hormones that are essential for muscle-building, including human growth hormone (HGH). During the N3 Stage of your non-rapid eye movement sleep, extra blood flows to your muscles and tissue growth and repair occurs. During REM sleep, your muscles relax relieving any tension built up from the day and reducing chronic pain. Many of the critical restorative prosperities within the body occur during your sleeping hours, making your need for quality sleep imperative after physical activity, in order to see results.

Getting Quality Sleep

Make sure you are putting sleep at the top of your priority list as this will help you manage your stress, improve your overall wellness, enjoy balance and stability, and generally live a healthy life. This will, of course, be easier if you engage in physical activities and exercises within the studio, as long exercises do wonders for the hormones in your brain that promote sleep.

If you struggle with sleepless nights, there are a few other natural remedies that you can try to restful sleep. Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, or alcohol at least 2 hours before bed, and aim to have a consistent sleep routine. Additionally, make an effort to disconnect from your tv, phone, or laptop before bed as they emit blue-light that is harmful to your sleep cycle.

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