Q. How much sleep should I be getting if I’m working out?
A. There is no clear-cut answer to this type of question- some people do great on six to seven hours sleep, while others require eight to nine (and in some cases even more)! I would say that a healthy aim, for those working out would be anywhere between eight and nine and a half hours of sleep. Will something terrible happen to you if you get less than that? Not exactly, but for optimal muscle rebuilding, body repair and regeneration for ideal functioning, eight or more hours would be ideal. Why eight hours or more? The REM period (rapid-eye-movement) – crucial for mental performance, memory, and learning- occurs in the last two hours of a seven to eight hour sleep. Besides the aforementioned benefits, you will enjoy natural energy to propel you throughout the day, and help stave off weight gain. People who receive less than four hours of sleep consistently (in some cases in as little as six days for one week) suffer from high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and memory loss, just to name a few. Fortunately, one is able to reverse these effects if they commit to getting more sleep consistently (and if the habit is caught early on rather than years later). Regular skimping on sleep results in slowed reaction time- in fact, sleep deprivation has been found to impair driving abilities as much as (if not more so) drinking alcohol and driving! In addition to impairment, the sleep deprived are more prone to catching colds and the flu, as well as suffering from depression if left unresolved for six months or longer. One of the worst side effects of sleep deficiency is weight gain. Less sleep makes weight loss even more difficult; when you don’t get enough rest, your body increases ghrelin (the hunger hormone), and decreases leptin (the hormone that signals your body that you are full). As a result, your body will crave all sorts of high carbohydrate foods to try to stay awake (carbohydrates = energy). Additionally, Cortisol (a stress hormone) is elevated which enables lipoprotein lipase to increase in activity. Translation: high carbohydrates + insatiable appetite + impaired fat storages = weight gain and the dreaded “big belly” syndrome. If you take away only one thing from this article today, know that consistent, quality sleep of eight hours or more is recommended for optimal functioning and weight loss goals. Consistently skimping out on regular sleep sets the body up for ill effects that will fall like dominoes; the choice is yours-how much sleep are you getting?
Crystal Manjarres is the owner of One- On-One Fitness, a private personal training and Pilates studio on Marco Island. She is a certified personal trainer and Stott Pilates certified instructor. Her focus is “Empowering men and women of all shapes and sizes”. To send in a question, email Crystal@101Fit.com. She can also be reached at www.101FIT.com and (239) 333-5771.