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AboutAlicia Kirschenheiter is an American Council on Exercise Certified Advanced Health & Fitness Expert, Personal Trainer, Fitness Coach, Certified Weight & Lifestyle Management consultant and Certified Wellcoach. Alicia is owner of Evolution Total Wellness Inc. located in New York, providing health and wellness solutions for individuals and businesses. Alicia is also a published fitness, health and wellness writer for a variety of venues and author of Oscar and Otis – Fat Fighters, a children’s book about healthy lifestyle choices.
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If you’re like most people, the thought of a good night’s sleep is just that….a thought, a longing, a missed old friend.
Many of us don’t get the recommend amount of sleep. Whether it’s because we’re up watching late night TV, the kids won’t go to bed or we simply cannot stop our minds from obsessing over the day, the fact is we’re tired. According to the Harvard Health Publications, more than 75% of us are getting less than 6 hours of sleep a few nights a week. It’s just simply not good enough, since the recommended amount of sleep for adults is between 7-9 hours per night.
Sleep is also quality dependent. So while you may get 9 hours of sleep, if you are up 5 times a night to check the clock, get a drink and use the bathroom, your quality is compromised. Quality sleep is essential, no exception.
Other than the obvious dragging the next day from lack of sleep, there are numerous health issues linked to sleep deprivation. Some of the noted effects from the Harvard Health Publication include:
• A person's metabolism and weight – sleep deprivation may alter the way a body processes and stores carbohydrates. It may also alter the level of hormones that affect our appetite. And I just thought being asleep meant you weren’t up eating…
• Mood – Sleep deprivation can cause irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate and - in my house - just pure anger
• Cardiovascular issues – sleep deprivation has been linked to irregular heartbeat & hypertension
• Accident incidence – it goes without saying that lack of sleep can cause drowsiness which, in turn, can lead to dozing off at all the wrong moments - like during work or while driving in the car
• Disease – sleep deprivation can lead to altered immune system and it has been noted that not being sleep deficient can help fight cancer.
• Muscle Growth – Last but certainly not least in my book, the best muscle development happens not when you’re in the gym, but when you are at rest. Sleep gives your body the time it needs to repair and recover from the workout you just put it through. It’s during the recovery when muscle development happens.
When people think of getting healthy, the rest and recovery necessary for a healthy and active lifestyle is often overlooked. Most individuals think that they have been sedentary long enough and hit the ground running toward becoming healthier, full steam ahead. However, understanding the differenece between being sedentary and needed rest is very important. Getting needed rest and the proper sleep on a regular schedule is crucial.
Until next time – Be well!
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