There are many factors that affect how well and effective you can exercise during a workout session. One of the many things that can have a tremendous impact on your ability to exercise is the amount of sleep that you are able to receive every night.
There are several phases that your body passes through during the night while you sleep. All of these phases are critical to helping our body completely rejuvenate and heal as much as possible throughout the night.
The first phase that your body will enter as you begin to fall asleep actually kicks in when the sun disappears on the horizon. When the sun sets, your body begins to release a hormone called melatonin.
Melatonin is released from the pineal gland. This reaction automatically happens when all light disappears.
You have experienced this reaction over and over throughout your life. The hormone melatonin makes you feel tired and encourages your muscles to relax.
It is also instrumental in helping your heart rate slow down, your breathing rate to slow down, and your body temperature to drop. Melatonin also tells your brain to slow down, but remain alert.
When the melatonin finally convinces you to fall asleep and you lose consciousness, you have fully entered sleep stage number one. Soon after you will enter phase two.
Phase two is the first ten to fifteen minutes when you lay absolutely still after losing consciousness. After this phase, you will enter a deeper sleep which is the beginning of phase three.
Phase three also lasts about five to fifteen minutes. When you enter phase four your body will relax even further.
Phase four lasts about half an hour. During this half an hour your eyes will begin to move very quickly back and forth.
This movement is called rapid eye movement or REM. When you have entered the REM stage, you will begin dreaming.
Dreams can last varying amounts of time and cover more or less material during that time. When the dream ends, you will circle back to phase two and repeat the process over and over throughout the rest of the night.
The average sleeper will circle through about five of these cycles within one night. Most people need eight hours and fifteen minutes of uninterrupted rest a night.
Unfortunately there are many things that can hinder a person's ability to get the amount of sleep that he or she needs during a night. These things may cause a variety of negative side effects including impaired glucose tolerance, increased carbohydrate cravings, a weaker immune system, increased risk for breast cancer, a higher susceptibility to obesity, hardened arteries, depression, irritability, and lack of an ability to focus on various tasks.
The last three negative side effects-depression, irritability, and lack of an ability to focus on various tasks-can have additional impacts in all areas of your life, including exercise. For example, if you are a dedicated runner and you have worked out the perfect routine for running on your treadmill and listening to music every day, you may find it challenging to continue this routine if you are suffering from depression.
In addition, an inability to focus on the task of running on the treadmill could mean that you do not notice when you start running slower. Because you are tired, you will not be able to reap as many of the benefits of exercising as you would if you were well rested as you will unconsciously take short cuts and let yourself go easy.
When you do not work as hard, you may not continue to make progress towards the goals you have set for yourself and may become frustrated. Your frustration combined with the irritability of not being able to sleep well may lead you to stop working out altogether.
This would be even worse for you and your health as you will not be sleeping enough and you will not be reaping the benefits of exercising which may be helping you to sleep better than you otherwise would be able to. However, it is important to make sure that you get enough sleep every night.
If you find that you are having trouble falling asleep, you may want to set aside extra time for yourself to wind down and let go of the cares of the day. Some people find that reading a book or listening to peaceful music helps them to fall asleep and be more relaxed and at ease throughout the night.