Importance of Sleep in Fitness/for Healthy Living

February 2, 2021 / fitness tips, sleep, wellness
Importance of Sleep in Fitness/for Healthy Living

When it comes to fitness, healthy body or weight loss, we give due importance to diet and exercise. However, we often tend to overlook the importance of good quality sleep.

Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining both – healthy body and healthy mind. The quality of your sleep affects how you feel physically and mentally. The way you feel while you’re awake depends on what happens while you’re sleeping.

During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain functioning and maintains your physical well-being. When you are sleep-deprived, it becomes difficult for the brain to function efficiently. This affects your ability to concentrate, think, and process.

Different age groups require a different amount of sleep. Like most adults require between 7 to 9 hours of nightly sleep. Whereas children and teenagers need more sleep and so do the kids below 5 years of age.
How much sleep should you take in a day?
According to the National Sleep Foundation guidelines, the recommended amount of sleep that must be practised by people of different age group is:

Category Hours of Sleep

New Borns 14-17 hours
Infant 12-15 hours
Preschool Kids 10-13 hours
School-Age Kids 9-11 hours
Teens 8-10 hours
Adults 7-9 hours
Senior Adults 7-8 hours

Why is sleep important for the human body?

Sound sleeping has many benefits on both physical and mental well-being. Here are a few reasons why good sleep is important.
Insufficient sleep can cause weight gain
Insufficient sleep is one of the significant risk factors for obesity. This school of thought is said to be backed by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise. So, if you are trying to lose weight, it is crucial to get good quality sleep.

Sleep deprivation tends to increase calories intake
Lack of sleep is believed to affect the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and cause poor appetite regulation. It increases levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone called ghrelin and reduces the levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone known as leptin.

Therefore, people who take a good amount of sleep, as required by their body, tend to consume fewer calories as compared to those who don’t.
Sleep can enhance athletic performance
In various studies, players taking adequate sleep have shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance like better speed, concentration, accuracy, reaction time and alertness.
Sleep keeps heart health in check
A healthy heart should get sufficient amount of sleep each night. Insufficient sleep can worsen blood pressure and cholesterol which are the major risk factors affecting the health of your heart.

The duration and quality of sleep are believed to drive chronic diseases, including heart disease and strokes.
Poor sleep affects metabolism
Poor sleeping habits are linked to causing adverse effects on metabolism in the general population. Sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating the process.

The metabolic system will be out of balance in sleep-deprived people, which will eventually affect the dietary choices they make.
Body repairs itself during sleep
Sleep is a time when the body is hard at work repairing damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. The body produces more protein molecules, (the building blocks of the human body) during sleep allowing itself to repair the damage.
The bottom line
Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health. Many factors prevent us from receiving enough sleep viz work schedules, day-to-day stress, a disruptive bedroom environment or medical conditions. A healthy diet and positive lifestyle habits can help ensure an adequate amount of sleep.

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