At Physio and Pilates central a few members of staff have joined the fitness tracking frenzy, but it’s not only our steps and physical activity we are keeping an eye on. Discussion has turned to sleep. These trackers provide information on how many hours we are sleeping, the quality of our sleep; if it’s deep or restless and they even provide suggestions of when we should go to bed in order to get enough .
We are all aware of the side effects of a poor night’s sleep on our energy levels and concentration, but did you know lack of sleep affects you physically as well as mentally?
Research published in 2014 suggests that young athletes who slept less than 8 hours a night are 1.7 times more likely to experience injury compared to those getting more than 8 hours.
There are various stages of sleeping, but in our deepest and most restorative sleep tissue repair occurs, alongside our blood pressure dropping, muscles relaxing and hormones being synthesised and released, which affects tissue repair, growth and our appetites.
I recently listened to a podcast in which Arianna Huffington (co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post) was interviewed. She commented that she pays employees for their talent not their stamina and has experienced first-hand the beneficial effects of getting enough sleep. For this reason she has a no screen rule in the bedroom and swears by two naps a day.
Food for thought when we consider how much we invest in our physical health with respect to exercise, nutrition and equipment, it seems sleep time and quality is an equally important investment.