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Sleep

Is it more important quantity or quality of sleep?

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Is it more important quality or quantity of sleep? Is it better to get 7 or 8 hours of poor quality disturbed sleep or to get 6 hours of high quality undisturbed sleep?

If I´m not wrong on a las post we talked about why it´s better to get 6 hours of high quality sleep than to get 7 hours of poor seep. We can´t deny that both matters, quality and quantity are both important, but, there are some points we need to consider.

The quantity of sleep each of us need varies, babies and kids need more sleep while adults need less. Some people do need to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep while others may just need 6 hours. This varies for many reasons, circadian rhythm, chronotype, lifestyle.

There´s no reason to get 7 hours of sleep if those 7 hours or poor quality, it´s better to get 6 hours of high quality sleep. With quantity too much or too little sleep are both a problem, more than 9 hours of sleep and less than 6 hours of sleep both have negative impacts on health, you can see those short-term negative impact right the next day. You feel tired, it´s harder to focus on the task at hand, you don´t perform as best as you can, cravings for unhealthy food increase, you eat more. This happen also when you 9 hours or more of sleep (considering you haven´t gone through a night of poor or lack of sleep), for some reason you don´t feel as great as you should imagined after getting that much sleep.

Even when experts and most people say that we all need 7 to 8 hours of sleep this is not completely true, knowing your sleep chronotype is key to knowing at what time is better for you to sleep and how much sleep you actually need. Dr. Michael Breus is talking about all this better than anyone else.

You might now by now if you like to go to sleep early and wake up early in the morning or if you prefer to go to sleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. You might also know if you feel more energetic and able to concentrate in the morning or if you find it easier to work and concentrate later in the day.

Even when nature has a rhythm or cycle and we all need to work according to it, we all have some moments when we feel more energized and focus and this has an impact on our daily schedule.

Nowadays it´s hard for us to get those 7 to 8 hours that most experts recommend to finding our chronotype is very helpful, although the problem with this is that most of us have a 9 to 5 job or go to school so it´s hard to fit our internal clock and when we feel more energetic, when we are able to concentrate and perform better with the demands and hours of school and work.

To keep things simple most of us will get great benefits and feel great by getting 6 hours of high quality of sleep, if we consider that each sleep cycle last around 90 minutes with 6 hours of sleep we´re getting 4 complete cycles, most people feel way better when they wake up after a completing a cycle than when they wake up in the middle of one. Now we need to make sure that those 6 hours are the best quality possible, you can do this by creating a sleeping schedule and routine as we´ve mentioned in other posts and try to use your chronotype as a guide, if you can make it fit with your daily lifestyle that´s way to go, otherwise try to make it as close as possible. If you know you can concentrate and perform better in the morning try to make the hardest task in the morning, if you know you work better at noon or late afternoon try to make the activities that require more concentration at that time.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Sleep and the brain

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We know we need to get enough high quality sleep every night, but how many times have you stopped for a moment and think what is going on while we sleep?

In fitness so many people talk about the benefits of sleep to help you lose weight and gain muscle but the benefits of sleep go far beyond that. While we´re sleeping our body is recovering and growing, but there´s a lot more going on especially in the brain.

During the day we go through a lot of situations, we need to pay attention to so many things going on. Sleep is one of those 4 principles of fitness that is so hard to study, and it´s so interesting. We can say that almost all animals sleep but why we need sleep is still a huge mystery.

During sleep our brain is supposed to be resting right? This is actually wrong, during sleep our brain is going through a lot of processes, there´s so much brain activity going on while we sleep. During this time our brain is processing all the information we got during day which are stored in the form of short-term memories, it takes all those experiences and information and test it, if the experience or information is relevant it stores it in another region of the brain so that we have access to it whenever we need it, long-term memory, if it´s not important it deletes all that information and experiences to make space for what´s going to come the next day.

This is why one of the best ways to learn something and actually remember it is to take the subject you´re studying, focus all your attention on it, whether it´s reading, writing, taking notes, or your favorite way to learn for about an hour or two and then take a nap. You´ll see you are able to remember a lot more just by focusing for a couple of hours and then resting than by spending hours and hours trying to learn something.

It also presents all with short stories, videos, or images that we call dreams, some experts that have been studying the brain think that our dreams help our brain make sense of all the experiences and information so that it can take it into pieces and put them together in a way that makes sense.

Our brain never rests and everything that´s going on our brain while we sleep is crucial for optimal health.

If we don´t get enough high quality sleep for just one night we can see the negative impact the next day, we are more forgetful, we´re not able to retain information, we need to read one sentence over and over, we can actually see that our brain is not as efficient as it should be, now just imagine what happens when this lack of sleep or poor sleep is chronic. Our Brain is never able to delete unimportant information, it can´t make all the cleaning and storage process and we just keep feeding it with more info until it´s a mess. Without adequate sleep our brain is not able to form and maintain the pathways that enables us to learn, think and concentrate.

For the brain to be able to go through all the process you need to make sure you´re going through all phases or stages of sleep for several cycles, plus you need to make sure it´s high quality. If you wake up and you feel tired it means you didn´t get high quality sleep even if you slept for 8 hours, you can get 6 hours of sleep and wake feeling energized and ready for the day, this means you get high quality sleep and your body and brain were able to go through all the processes to make sure you´re ready for the day to come.

Knowing that our brain is always working even when we´re sleeping can be a motivation to get enough quality sleep every night, knowing that if we want to learn faster and be able to concentrate and be more productive throughout the day we need sleep.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

5 simple habits to improve sleep

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Our life is based on habits, what we do every single day is creating our life so if we want to be successful we need to develop the right habits this also applies for sleep, since we are lazy and our mind likes to avoid challenges and changes so by developing habits and systems we make everything simple for our mind and ourselves.

The easiest sleep habits we can develop and that will give us the best results are:

1. Turn off electric devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

Blue light has a negative impact on your sleep so if you turn off electric devices right before going to bed it will hard to fall asleep unless you had a very tough day and you´re really tired otherwise the light will make it harder for you.

2. Working out especially in the morning.

Exercise improves sleep quality it doesn´t matter at which time of the day you workout but if you can only train at night you need to make it moderate intensity and effort if you go to hard you won´t fall asleep fast, if you exercise in the morning you will get all the benefits of improving sleep at night thanks to the circadian rhythm.

3. Getting sunlight

Your body has an internal clock called circadian rhythm and getting sunlight exposure especially in the morning and turning lights and electric devices when the sun comes down helps the internal clock stay in tune which helps you fall asleep faster.

4. Breathing exercises before sleep

If you are stressed and tense when you go to bed doing some breathing exercises help you release tensions from your muscles and body and reduce stress.

5. Avoid caffeine before going to bed

Caffeine is a stimulant so it´s job is to keep you awake, if you drink coffee in the afternoon to get through all the work it may be causing problems to fall asleep. Drinking coffee in the morning is great but make sure that you don´t do it for at least 5 hours before going to bed, if you can avoid completely in the afternoon and late night that´s better.

These steps may sound so simple and they are, if you use them and make them part of a daily routine it will be easier for you to get enough good quality sleep every night. You can turn off lights and electric devices 30 minutes before going to bed and use those 30 minutes or part of them to meditate or do some breathing exercises, just by doing this you´ll see it´s easier for you to fall asleep and the next day you wake up and feel great, the more days you practice this the better you become and the best the results.

If you take this habits and make them part of your life you will improve the quality and quantity of sleep which can also reduce the quantity of it, if right now you need 7 hours but those hours are not good quality and by using this habits you improve the quality you may sleep 6 hours and feel great, or you may still need those 7 hours but you´ll feel amazing when you wake up, it all depends of your lifestyle.

There are different strategies or tools for each of the 5 principles of fitness but you need to try them and find the ones that work best for you according to your lifestyle, remember that you can´t let your life revolve around fitness, you need to find strategies you can adapt to your life and develop those strategies as habits.

If you have any doubt or question leave it down below and on Twitter, we´ll be glad to read from you and answer to help you improve your life and achieve your fitness goal.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

How many hours of sleep do we really need?

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This is a question many of us keep asking time and time again, from what I´ve read and what I´ve seen the amount of sleep each of us per night will vary according to different factors like our levels of stress, nutrition, exercise, age, etc; our lifestyle will determine not only the amount of sleep we need but it will determine the tools we use for each of the 5 principles of fitness to live our best life possible.

Most people in the industry will say that we need around 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep per night but most of us don´t get that recommend quantity some of us because we can´t and some prefer to spend time late night watching Netflix or doing other stuff.

For someone who is very active during the day, someone who trained hard in the gym, someone who has a very stressful life getting the 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep is necessary because the body and mind needs to recover from all that stress and work of the day and get ready to start over again. Someone who doesn´t exercise hard and for someone who is able to maintain stress low the entire day can get only 6 hours of sleep and feel great.

Our age also plays an important point to consider, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the younger we are the more sleep we need, children need around 9 hours, adults around 8 hours, older adults around 7 hours.

The best way to know how many hours you need is by how you feel when you wake up, if you feel rested, with energy and ready to start your day then it was enough but if it´s hard to wake up and you want to hit the snooze button over and over, if you feel tired, if you lack energy then those are signs that you need to sleep more.

In any case, whether it´s 7 to 8 hours or 6 hours you need to make those hours count, quality of sleep is important, you may sleep 8 hours but if you keep waking up in the middle of the night you won´t get through all the phases of sleep and your body and mind won´t recover properly so when you wake up you won´t feel rested. You may get 6 hours of sleep but if those 6 hours were great and you were able to go through all the phases in each cycle when you wake up we feel rested, energized and ready for the day.

From all the research I´ve done, even when most experts recommend 7 to 8 hours if you do the math considering that each sleep cycle last around 90 minutes then you´ll need 7 and a half hours of sleep while others can do great with 6 hours. I consider to be more important the amount of complete cycles you get, if you wake up in the middle of a cycle you´ll feel tired but if you wake up right when it´s ending you´ll feel a lot better.

Quality and quantity of sleep are both important, you can make adjustments to the quantity according to your lifestyle but you need to make sure that it´s good quality. Enough good quality sleep helps you perform better throughout the day by increasing focus and concentration, increase productivity, you get better results, it´s easier to stay on track in any program and the reason for this is that your body is working the way it should, all hormones and systems are on balance, when everything is on balance everything works as it´s supposed to work and that´s when you are able to perform at peak.

Sleep is a crucial part of success in life, it makes your fitness journey a lot easier but getting enough good quality sleep is crucial for health so developing habits and a schedule that helps you get good quality sleep every night is key, we´re living very fast paced and stressful days so developing a routine before you go to sleep and right when you wake up helps you improve sleep by calming your mind and relaxing your body and also helps you focus and concentrate on what you need to do every single day to stay on track and achieve your goals.

If you need to sleep 7 to 8 hours but for different reasons you can´t get them, naps are a great tool, taking a nap between 12 pm to 2:00 pm can help you recover and continue with the rest of your day.

If it´s hard for you to get the 7 or 8 hours recommended try to focus on sleep cycles, how many cycles can you get each night? Try this and let us know your results by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter.

It all depends of you day and how active you are but, the most important thing to consider is to listen to your body, be aware of the signals it sends. How do you feel when you wake up? How do you feel all day long? Is there a moment when you start feeling tired? You also need to consider the other 4 principles of fitness, they all need to work together.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Your lack of sleep may be disrupting your hormones

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Knowing how things work and the impacts they have in our body help us live a better life and achieve our goals in a simple way.

Nowadays sleep is one of our least priorities, if we want to lose weight we focus on diet and exercise and even when we know sleep is important we don´t give it the attention it deserves. Just one night of poor sleep will have negative consequences on your day and if this become chronic it can cause negative health problems.

Here we´ll talk about 5 hormones that are affected with just one night of poor sleep, this hormones are: cortisol, growth hormone, insulin, leptin and ghrelin.

Cortisol is the stress hormone, every time you are under stress your body releases cortisol to deal with that situation, your body needs more energy so it shuts down non essential functions for that period of time and glucose increases because it´s the preferred form of energy and you need energy in case you need to run or fight. Lack of sleep increases stress in your body so if you didn´t get enough good sleep cortisol will be high.

Growth hormone is the one that keeps you lean, it helps your cells use stored fat for energy and also repair and build muscle. Your body produces this hormone during sleep you need to get through all the phases of sleep for this hormone to get high. Lack of sleep keeps this hormone low making it easier for your body to store fat and even lose muscle tissue.

Insulin is known as the fat storage hormone, it takes insulin to the cells so it can be use as energy and it is triggered by carbohydrates, the higher insulin is the more fat you store and it´s also dangerous. Lack of sleep makes your body insulin resistant meaning that your body is not efficient using carbohydrates, your body needs to produce more insulin to get the same job done.

Leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite and it tells you when to stop eating by sending signals to your brain that you are full and that you have plenty of energy. Lack of sleep lowers leptin in your body so it can´t send signals to your brain that you are full so you keep eating.

Ghrelin also sends signals to your brain and tells you when you need to eat. Lack of sleep increases ghrelin so you are hungry all day. This is why your craving for sweets and unhealthy foods increases with just one night of poor sleep.

During sleep your brain is recharging so that you can learn, understand and memorize things with ease, lack of sleep affects your cognitive skills making it harder to retain new information, to react fast and make good decisions. Your attention and alertness lowers and you won´t be as creative as you can be.

Lack of sleep sends the wrong signals and trigger these hormones in the wrong way affecting not only your fitness goals but your health in general. One night of poor sleep will affect your day and you´ll see it in the short run symptoms like feeling tired, sleepy, lack of energy, hard to focus, cravings increase specially for sweets, being in a bad mood.

Chronic sleep problems can cause many physical and health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, anxiety. It also makes your hormones go out of balance the internal clock of your body go nuts.

Changing habits is key for good quality sleep every night, some of the causes of bad sleep are chronic stress and blue light, if you are stressed your body won´t relax and your mind won´t stop making it almost impossible to fall asleep and get the adequate rest. Blue light is present in almost all screens of technology devices like computers, lap tops, cell phones, tv. Avoiding the use of this electronics before you go to bed help you sleep better and faster, meditation helps you relax and calm and release tension from your body and muscles.

In future post we´ll talk about each hormone separately to go deeper so you can have a better understanding, if there´s something in particular you want to know just let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter, we´ll be glad to answer all your questions.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Why lack of sleep can make you gain weight

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If you want to make your weight loss journey easier and maintain a lean physique then you need to pay attention to the quality and quantity of sleep.

We´ve mentioned before that weight loss is not only about calories, in fact it is more about hormones and metabolism and sleep plays a huge role on maintaining all hormones and systems on your body in balance. Lack of sleep has a negative impact on your brain and body, this include your weight.

There´s so much research and studies done about the relationships between sleep and weight and it´s clear that when you don´t get enough high quality sleep you gain weight or at least it is harder for you to stay on track, the reason for this is hormones.

Some hormones regulate your hunger and appetite, these hormones are leptin and ghrelin, when leptin is up you have less cravings and you eat less, when ghrelin is up you have more cravings and you eat more. With lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep leptin decreases and ghrelin increases this is why it is harder to avoid unhealthy foods and to follow a diet when you didn´t get enough high-quality sleep.

Lack of sleep increases cravings for the unhealthy foods you need to avoid, highly processed and refined foods that are loaded with sugars, trans fats and unhealthy oils and if you eat them you´ll get into a cycle that is hard to leave thanks to the signals this food sends to your body including your brain. We also need to consider that you not only have cravings for unhealthy foods and in most cases you´ll end up eating them, you also tend to eat more.

Lack of sleep or poor sleep make you feel tired, without energy to exercise so chances are you´ll skip the work out of the day and if you don´t exercise, you eat unhealthy foods and you eat more you have the recipe to gain weight.

If your body is working properly and everything is in balance it´s really simple to lose weight and maintain optimal health and also maintain a healthy weight and to keep all hormones and systems in balance you need to make sure that your diet is sending the right messages to your body and enough high quality sleep makes this possible in an easier way.

Leptin and ghrelin are just two of the hormones, there are other hormones like growth hormone and insulin that also play an important role on weight and optimal health. There are studies that show that one night of poor sleep increases insulin and when insulin is high then you don´t burn fat. For a healthy weight loss and to make it sustainable you need to make sure that you are losing fat and maintaining lean muscle mass, insulin blocks fat burn.

One night of poor sleep takes all hormones out of balance which makes it impossible to lose weight and if it is chronical the negative impacts are worse.

On future posts we´ll talk about why weight loss is not about self-control and will power, it´s about making sure that your body works properly, this means that you need to improve your health, to maintain optimal health you need to develop certain healthy habits and routines which includes enough high quality sleep, this is key to make sure that all hormones are working properly which is what makes your weight loss possible in a simple, effortless and enjoyable way.

Finding ways, tools and strategies that help you get enough high quality sleep is important, having a sleep schedule, exercising especially in the morning, using breathing techniques are some of the tools you can use to improve sleep.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you had pay attention at how you feel after a night of poor sleep, have you realized that you eat less, that you have more cravings and you more?

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

ExerciseSleep

How exercise improves sleep

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We can´t deny the fact that exercise has so many incredible benefits for optimal health and this includes sleep, if you want to get better sleep then make exercise part of your daily routine.

Nowadays we are more sedentary than we used to be some years ago and we do not prioritize our health, most of us live very unhealthy lifestyle created by negative habits and routines. This includes lack of exercise or physical activity.

Exercise helps you improve the quality and quantity of sleep, we´ve talked about on past posts about the internal clock of our body called the circadian rhythm and on future posts we´ll talk about our body temperature and how it fluctuates during day and night. Exercise helps keep your body in balance by increasing body temperature and keeping the circadian rhythm in balance.

The time of the day you exercise impacts the quality and quantity of sleep, if you do a high intensity workout at night then it will be harder for you to fall asleep which is not what we want so the best time to exercise is in the morning, it doesn´t matter if you go to the gym, if you exercise at home or if you go to outside; it doesn´t matter if you lift weights, if you do bodyweight exercises or if you jump rope or go for a walk; any physical activity done in the morning improves the quality and quantity of sleep. When you exercise in the morning your body temperature increases and then starts to fall, exercising in the afternoon still gives your body temperature time to fall before you go to bed.

If you can exercise outside and get sunlight you get a lot more benefits and this also improves the quality and quantity of sleep by keeping your circadian rhythm in sync.

The intensity and effort of your workouts need to be considered also, it´s not recommended to do exercise at high intensity and effort whether it´s resistance or cardio at night because it will take you so long to fall asleep and you won´t get high quality of sleep. If the only time you can exercise is at night make sure it´s moderate intensity and effort. If you can exercise in the morning then moderate to high intensity is better but always making sure that you are paying attention to proper form and avoid all injuries.

If your goal with exercise is to improve the quality and quantity of sleep then you don´t need to do long workouts, I don´t recommend more than 90 minutes of exercise actually and 90 minutes are not necessary. To improve sleep taking a 10 to 15 minutes walks is all you need to get the benefits. 30 minutes 5 days a week would be the ideal amount of time to improve sleep and also to improve your health. Starting with 10 minutes is a great way to go.

We also need to mention the exercise reduces stress and when you lower stress the quality and quantity of sleep improves, how many nights have you lied in bed ready to fall asleep but you keep thinking and worrying on everything going on with your life? From you school, grades, your job, your boss, finances, relationships? All these fears and worries increase stress and they keep you awake at night. Exercising is a great way to leave that stress out of your body and improve your mood.

When you exercise or do some physical activity you end up tired, exercise requires energy this is why when you do any new activity or go out and spend some time playing with friends, family or you have a camping day or any other outside activity that includes exercise and physical movement you feel tired and when you go to bed you fall asleep really fast. When you exercise you are using energy and this makes you tired so by the end of the day you want to rest so when you go to bed your body is prepared to get that well deserve rest giving it the opportunity to work properly.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you remember how you felt the last time you spent some time outside with friends or family doing any physical activity, playing a sport and having fun and if you remember how you slept that night.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

How to improve sleep during shift work

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You know that sleep is important, it not only help you feel energized and perform at your best every day, it is also important to maintain optimal health but what do you do when you have a shift work?

People that work night shift face many different challenges and have a lot of problems with their health. They are disorganized, they lack human connection, they feel lonely and some of then have depression or anxiety. It´s not only that they feel tired, they can´t concentrate, they performance decrease, the negative impact on the long run can put their health at risk.

I mentioned before that our body has an internal clock called the circadian rhythm and this clock needs to be working with our environment so that all systems and hormones on our body are on sync. People that work night shifts are working against this internal clock so it´s really hard for them to get enough sleep during day and the reason for this is because during the night there´s no light and that sends the signal to your body that it´s time to rest, recover and grow and during day there´s light so this sends the signal to your body to stay alert. Even when they may be able to fall asleep the quality of sleep won´t be as high as possible, they can be woken up by people or normal noises very easily and this can lead to insomnia or other sleep problems. They need to work on having a good schedule that helps them get the best quality of sleep possible.

Unfortunately, some people work night shifts, and this is detrimental to their health because it gets really hard to get the quality and quantity of sleep needed. If you are one of them here are some steps you can take to improve sleep:

1.- Avoid highly processed and fast foods, try to make your meals low carbohydrates and focus on getting enough healthy proteins and fats.

2.- Do some exercise before your night shift.

3.- Get bright light at night during work, get your work place with good light and use amber glasses during day.

4.- Take naps if you can

5.- Drink coffee or tea to stay alert

6.- Keep a sleep schedule and go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, weekdays and weekends.

7.- Use eye mask to send the right signal through your eyes, you want total darkness.

On cases like this one you need to work and focus on the other 4 principles of fitness, food, exercise, stress and mindset. What you eat and when you eat will have a huge impact on how able you are to stay alert during your work and how fast can you fall asleep. Stress will also have a negative impact making your sleep low quality, physical activity will help you stay alert during your shift and it will also help you get better quality and quantity of sleep.

When you can´t take control of the 5 principles of fitness and you can´t make sure that you are working on all of them you need to work harder on the ones you can control so that you can reduce the negative impact of the last one.

Try to avoid working several night shift in a row and if you can avoid them do it as much as possible. Most jobs have a lunch time so taking a nap during this lunch time can be very beneficial. Make sure that you eat a healthy meal during that lunch time and use the rest of the time to take a nap.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you work night shifts and how you manage to get sleep or if you are having troubles getting enough high quality sleep.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

How many hours of sleep do we need per night?

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This is a question many of us keep asking time and time again, from what I´ve read and what I´ve seen the amount of sleep each of us need per night will vary according to different factors like our levels of stress, nutrition, exercise, age, etc; our lifestyle will determine not only the amount of sleep we need but it will determine the tools we use for each of the 5 principles of fitness to live our best life possible.

Most people in the industry and research will say that we need around 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep per night but most of us don´t get that recommend quantity some of us because we can´t and some prefer to spend time late night watching Netflix or doing other stuff.

For someone who is very active during the day, someone who trained hard in the gym, someone who has a very stressful life getting the 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep is necessary because the body and mind needs to recover from all that stress and work of the day and get ready to start over again. Someone who doesn´t exercise hard and for someone who is able to maintain stress low the entire day can get only 6 hours of sleep and feel great.

Our age also plays an important point to consider, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the younger we are the more sleep we need, children need around 9 hours, adults around 8 hours, older adults around 7 hours.

The best way to know how many hours you need is by how you feel when you wake up, if you feel rested, with energy and ready to start your day then it was enough but if it´s hard to wake up and you want to hit the snooze button over and over, if you feel tired, if you lack energy then those are signs that you need to sleep more or improve the quality.

In any case, whether it´s 7 to 8 hours or 6 hours you need to make those hours count, quality of sleep is important, you may sleep 8 hours but if you keep waking up in the middle of the night you won´t get through all the phases of sleep and your body and mind won´t recover properly so when you wake up you won´t feel rested. You may get 6 hours of sleep but if those 6 hours were great and you were able to go through all the phases in each cycle when you wake up, you feel rested, energized and ready for the day.

There´s something I need to say about sleep, from everything I´ve read and research each sleep cycle last around 90 minutes so if we consider this and the 7 to 8 hours of sleep recommended the math is not right. It is possible that most people need 7.5 hours of sleep per night, but this is not a rule. Considering sleep cycles the question for me is how many cycles of sleep do you need? And this will vary from people to people. At what time you go to sleep also a has a huge impact, some people prefer to go to sleep really late around midnight while others around 9:00 pm. We all have a best time to go to sleep and it´s different for each of us, if you sleep at the right time for you, you may need less sleep.

Quality and quantity of sleep are both important, you can make adjustments to the quantity according to your lifestyle, but you need to make sure that it´s good quality. Enough good quality sleep help you perform better throughout the day by increasing focus and concentration, increase productivity, you get better results, it´s easier to stay on track in any program and the reason for this is that your body is working the way it should, all hormones and systems are on balance, when everything is on balance everything works as it´s supposed to work and that´s when you are able to perform at peak.

Sleep is a crucial part of success in life, it makes your fitness journey a lot easier but getting enough good quality sleep is crucial for health so developing habits and a schedule that help you get good quality sleep every night is key, we´re living very fast paced and stressful days so developing a routine before we go to sleep and right when we wake up helps us improve sleep by calming our mind and relaxing our body and also help us focus and concentrate on what we need to do every single day to stay on track and achieve our goals.

If you need to sleep 7 to 8 hours but for different reasons you can´t get them, naps are a great tool, taking a nap between 12 pm to 2:00 pm can help you recover and continue with the rest of your day.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

What happens during sleep?

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Most of us want to feel and perform at peak every day or at least we want to feel great and be able to go through all activities and accomplish our daily goals as best as possible but even when we want all this we do not prioritize sleep. I know some days is impossible to go to bed early and get 8 hours of quality sleep but, how many times have you stayed up late watching one more episode of Game of Thrones, a Harry Potter or Avengers movies? (I love those ones, choose the one you love 😊)

I think that if you understand what happens when you sleep you will consider to give it the importance it deserves and even if you can´t get 8 hours every night you can make some changes to your lifestyle and adopt good habits that will improve the quality of your sleep and get at least 6 hours every night which will impact your life positively.

Sleep is crucial for your health and survival, specially because your brain never stops, there are so many processes going on in your brain and body while you sleep, every day your brain receives tones of information and you put your body through stress, while we sleep your body is recovering and your brain is storing information, it also takes you through movies that seem so real which are dreams.

We´re going to keep it simple, sleep can divide it in 2 phases which are deep sleep and REM, deep sleep focuses more on our body while REM focuses more on our brain.

REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement)

In this part of sleep the focus is on your brain and memory, when you are awake you are taking a lot of information that is stored in the short term memory, during sleep all that information goes through a selective test, if it´s important and useful that information gets stored in the long term memory where it can last a lifetime, this is where your memories are stored and you can share the stories for years to come, if the information is not relevant, important or useful it´s deleted. Most of the information you get during the day is deleted, this clean part prevents that your brain gets filled with unnecessary stuff.

Even when memory consolidation requires both deep sleep and REM studies show that if you have any sleep issue during this stage you tend to be more forgetful. Dreams are experienced most vividly during this stage and even when the reasons or purpose of dreams are not clear it may be to help us process information and emotions.

Deep sleep

During this part of sleep all the healing and repair in the body occurs, here the body is working on recovering from the day, recover, healing and growing. Growth hormone is released during this phase but all other hormones like leptin, ghrelin, insulin are also working, the same with the systems of your body like digestive, immune they´re all working together to recover and build muscle, skin, hair.

During deep sleep your physical body is recovering, healing and growing, the body is actually healing itself from wounds, repairing muscle, replacing cells this is why it´s so important.

It´s clear that you need enough good quality sleep and you need to go through both phases repeatedly every night, lack of sleep impacts all the process going on while you sleep that is why it´s harder to stay focused on what you are doing, we tend to be more forgetful and you are more susceptible to get sick.

Optimal health physically and mentally requires good quality sleep, this compliments the other 4 principles of fitness so developing good habits for each of them leads to a better life, it´s not about being perfect on one of them, it´s about improving in all of them. If you can´t get 8 hours of sleep every day try getting 6 hours and focus on making those 6 hours the best and use tools to reduce stress which will help you improve the quality of sleep, eat real, fresh foods, workout every day and stay as far as possible from negative people, be more positive all day.

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Pam