Exercise improves sleep and sleep improves exercise.
It’s obvious that a poor nights’ rest can affect how you perform the next day, at work, school, in sports or at the gym. A good night’s rest is just as vital to our health as diet and exercise and most people do not get enough sleep or suffer from poor sleep quality.
According to my Fitbit, I sleep an average of 6.5 hours per night, like most adults. We really need between seven to nine. Studies have shown that those who get less than six hours of sleep have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, impaired immune function, greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Lack of sleep can lead to depression and even social issues. Poor sleep can lead to weight gain. Adults and children who have a shorter duration of sleep are actually at a higher risk for obesity. They tend to eat more calories and have less motivation to exercise. So, if you are looking to improve your overall health, put sleep at the top of your list.
One of the best ways to increase your quality of sleep is exercise. Regular exercise like cycling, running, swimming and lifting weights helps with insomnia symptoms. Exercise expends energy, so you’ll feel ready to rest by the end of the day. If stress or anxiety is keeping you from falling asleep when your head hits the pillow, try yoga. Yoga is an excellent stress reliever and helps you leave your worries of the day behind you.
What if you already exercise regularly and are not getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night? Lack of sleep can lead to accidents and injury and sleep is important for muscle recovery. Sleep will also affect the intensity of your workout, either positively or negatively.
Try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day. If time seems to be an issue, it may mean turning off the TV and getting to bed an hour earlier. If you have trouble falling asleep, avoid caffeine and alcohol. Just a few small changes in your sleep habits can make a big difference in your gym performance, achieving fitness goals and improving your health and well-being.
Angela Fulgieri is the Wellness Experience Director at the Plant City YMCA. Contact her at email@example.com.