You may know that the four essential elements of our survival are oxygen, water, food, and SLEEP -- in that order. While sleep is at the bottom of that list, it is still essential. ALifer* demands the greatest return on their investment…without sleep you won’t get very far.
There are essentially two types of fatigue -- physical and mental -- and as a Lifer, you will eventually suffer from both without the proper amount of rest. Sleep is a vital part of the recovery process after the muscles -- including the brain -- have been worked and put to the test.
You can fight fatigue but the fact of the matter is that you will remain fatigued -- whether physically or mentally or both -- until your body has had a chance to rest and make up for the sleep deficit.
Some people are under the impression that rest results in muscle catabolism AKA the wasting of muscle tissue. They believe that rest is for the weary and action is what will deliver optimized fitness results. Some go so far to try and get as little rest as possible! Huge mistake! Don't allow any product marketers to try and persuade you into thinking that minimal rest is all you need. It’s the type of information that will not only hurt you, but could kill you!
Much like a race car enters a pit stop to repair the wear and tear while racing, at rest, your body has entered into a pit stop, where the body is rejuvenating and repairing the damage done while you’re active and awake. During intense exercise, you are actually damaging (micro tearing of muscle fibers) muscle tissue when you lift weights. The biological process is to then allow the muscle fibers repair and grow stronger. A night’s worth of “pit stop” repair can work wonders on your body – if you neglect the necessary rest, your body will fail to recover and this is when illness and injury can take place.
In order to receive an optimized amount of rest (7 to 10 hours per night), try some of these “wind-down” wonders:
Avoid caffeinated foods and drinks about three to five hours before bedtime.
Try to eliminate all light sources, as even some light can interrupt deep regenerative sleep.
White noise like a fan or white noise app can help bring on deeper levels of sleep.
Ear plugs can be a god-send.
Try to put emotional conversations and work related “stuff” to bed a few hours before you get there!
Take a warm shower or bath.
Keep Going (after 7-10 hours!)
James Villepigue CSCS
*Lifer: someone who has discovered the power of healthy living and has made a lifelong commitment to making the most out of each and every day!