It’s more important than most people think. Have you ever heard someone say, “I only need four hours of sleep”?
While they may think they’re being truthful, they are not exactly correct. The fact is, your body needs many hours of sleep in order to function at its optimum. If someone seems to be operating just fine on 4-5 hours of sleep, they will still be better off and even more productive if they were to get a full eight hours.
We physical fitness freaks have long known how important sleep is to recovery. We know that growth and repair only happens at rest; particularly when you sleep. Don’t get enough sleep and your gains go backward due to overtraining also known as under recovering. It is also understood that those who sleep less tend to be fatter, and have a harder time getting rid of body fat.
But what else does a lack of sleep impact besides your muscles, tendons, and body fat?
Recent discoveries have shown that not getting enough sleep can cause permanent damage to brain cells and that making up sleep in the following days is actually ineffective in reversing the brain damage.
Sleep is so important to every-day functioning that the The American Academy of Pediatricians has recently suggested that schools push their start times later in the morning due to the teen agers’ circadian rhythm.
“…anything less than 8.5 hours to nine hours a night on school days—can contribute to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, mood changes and behavior problems.”
Read more about the AAP’s suggestion for schools to start later as opposed to suggesting teens go to bed earlier: Time.com: “School Should Start Later” Click here.
Read more about how the body and nervous system need lots of sleep for recovery from exercise.
Sportsmedicine.about.com: “Do Athletes Need Extra Sleep” Click here.
Bodybuilding.com: “The Importance Of Sleep!” And here.
“New York Times: “Sleep After Hard Workouts? You Must Be Dreaming” And also here.
How many hours do you get? How are your workouts? How about your alertness and ability to think? Let me know in the comments!