A lot of us may not realize how important sleep really is, especially when you are exercising regularly. Or maybe you know it is important to get a good night’s sleep, but do not exactly know for what reasons.  In an article called, “Sleep and Exercise” from the March issue of IDEA Fitness Journal it discusses why it is imperative to catch those zzzzzzzs every night and how it effects exercise

When we sleep there are five different stages that we go through. In stages one through four we experience non rapid eye movement sleep, and the fifth stage is our rapid eye movement sleep. According to the article the stages most important for us exercise enthusiasts are three and four. In stage three of our sleep cycle human growth hormone is released which “helps maintain and repair muscles and cells” (Sleep and Exercise page 87). Every time we workout, our muscles are being damaged, without the proper mechanisms our body needs to repair our muscles, breakdown will continue to occur, showing decreases in the muscle mass we are trying to build and maintain. If we do not allow our bodies to get the proper amounts of sleep we are missing out on our opportunity for the human growth hormones to be released and regenerate our bodies, which happens in stage four of the sleep cycle.

While many of us may think we do not have enough time in our busy lives to allow ourselves to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night, maybe you can start to reconsider some of your priorities and make it a goal to put sleep as one of the things at the top of your list. Plus, each hour of sleep you deprive yourself of each night will only begin to back log and your low levels of energy from lack or rest will start catching up to you and your physical activity performance.


Leiana Swanson