Byline: GU
Story by GU

Fitness for Sleep

We all know how important sleep is for bodily function, repair and building.

The aerobic and anaerobic energy systems supply a consistent source of fuel to the brain, muscles and organs. The end result of this tremendous stress and strain on the body is tissue damage and breakdown. The act of repairing and rebuilding the tissue damage primarily takes place during SLEEP!

Everyone needs an average of between seven and 10 hours sleep per night. Your sleep cycles occur in 90-minute cycles with deep sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) occurring toward the end of each 90-minute cycle. Deep sleep is of paramount importance for the building and repairing of muscles, whereas REM is vital for the restoration of normal neural function.

If your sleep pattern is disturbed within the 90-minute cycle and before your deep sleep and REM has not occurred the whole process will start again thus delaying the deep sleep and REM process.

In today’s world of sport, the most successful athletes follow a regimented sleep plan:

Here are a few sleeping tips

1. Do not take naps longer than two hours. More than two hours may lead to sleeping disorder
2. Sleep only when sleepy
3. Avoid heavy studying and computer games at least hour before going to bed
4. Avoid training at least three hours before bed time
5. Avoid sleeping with lights, computer monitors, radio or TVs on
6. Make sure the room is quiet, cool and dark
7. On the weekends sleep later but no more than two to three hours
8. Go to sleep at the same time every day. Create a routine/habit
9. Learn to associate your bed with sleeping
10. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes get up and do something boring
11. When you wake up open the curtains/blinds to stimulate your senses
12. Spend time in sunlight throughout the day

The optimal time to work out is first thing to mid morning; this gives the body more than enough time to return to a normative state later in the day leading to bedtime. What you want to avoid is exercising later in the day most notably high intensity exercise whereby you are raising your heart rate, increasing adrenal levels (stress hormone), which then take longer to return to normal (normally in the region of four to five hours), with a reduction in the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. These will all inhibit your ability to go to sleep at normal times!

If you are planning on doing some form of exercise close to your bedtime, a good suggestion is light stretching and or yoga where you are training your body to relax and unwind. Meditation and breathing exercises will also work really well.

Thanks to Kieron Vorster of Fit8 studios, revolutionising the industry's approach to #physiotherapy, #injuryrehabilitation, #personalfunctionaltraining.

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