Time. We all have found out that, lately, we have a lot of time. Twenty-four hours has always been 24 hours, just like 200 pounds is always 200 pounds! It is how we fill those hours that makes a world of difference! One area of time that people tend to overlook when life is busy is sleep. What is the value that “sleep mode” has on our bodies?
Sleep has more impact on our bodies than just helping us to wake up and feel refreshed in the morning! Sleep helps with body composition changes, athletic performance, and recovery. Did you know that when you sleep, your body releases growth hormone? Growth hormone plays a large part in repairing bone and muscle from training. With lower quality sleep, the body is less able to repair itself from training in the gym (or at home during quarantine). When our bodies release an adequate amount of growth hormone, it stimulates other processes within the body, such as using more energy from fat. Leptin is another hormone that plays an important role in the body. It helps to regulate cravings and insulin. If you find yourself having strong food cravings throughout the day, check your sleep habits! If you have poor sleep habits, the chances of having cravings throughout the day are higher. High quality sleep also reduces the cortisol level in the body. Stress and overtraining can increase cortisol levels in your body, but by getting good quality sleep, you can reduce the cortisol levels and create an environment that allows for your body to recover and repair itself from the stressors and training throughout the day.
If you are looking for ways to increase your performance, change your body composition, increase recovery, or simply create a new healthy habit while we have been granted this time during quarantine, think about revamping your sleep routine! Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Work to create a “sleep mode” routine that allows you to get 8-10 hours of sleep at night, and see how you feel!