The Importance of Sleep

File_000 (6)Don’t underestimate how important sleep is. I have noticed some very detrimental effects of not getting enough sleep, and now, I try to get at least a minimum of 7.5 hours a night.

Weight loss is stymied by a lack of sleep. I can directly correlate a lack of weight loss to a lack of sleep. For whatever reason (and I am certain that there is scientific data to explain why this is, but I didn’t get enough sleep last night and I can’t be bothered with looking it up), the body does a good job of processing everything and losing weight efficiently as long as you have a good night’s rest. Not enough sleep? That doesn’t give the body enough time to process everything and lose weight. Doesn’t sound very scientific, right? That’s because…

Lack of concentration. (I can’t concentrate well enough right now to look up sources and links and stuff). When you don’t get enough sleep, it makes it hard to concentrate. There have been studies that show its actually a bit easier to focus on single tasks when tired because you tend to put more of the available energy as a percentage of the whole to the task being performed, but the downside is that you can only do this for short periods of time and the duration for which you can do these tasks overall is greatly reduced.

Prone to injury when tired. There’s more scientific data that shows that people who exercise without enough sleep tend to get injured more often. The theory is that people aren’t concentrating enough on muscle movement to make sure they are running, lifting, etc properly and injure themselves.

Lack of motivation when tired. This is a big one. Nobody wants to run or work out when they’re tired. They’d rather sleep. I’m in this camp.

Last night, I was up very late. It wasn’t due to anything within my power; we were buying a new car, and the process took much longer than we expected. The result was that I got about 5 hours of sleep which is a solid two and a half to three hours less than I normally get. That’s a big deal to me. I used to be able to function on less sleep, but since I started paying attention to the amount of sleep I get and made an effort to get in more sleep time every night, I’ve noticed I feel much more alert and able to handle the day. Now, when I don’t get enough sleep, I feel the detrimental effects more keenly. The result of not getting enough sleep last night; I didn’t run this morning.

I will run tomorrow morning. I will do everything within my power to get enough sleep tonight and to even try to make up for the lack of sleep last night. I enjoy my running, and I’m committed to making progress and continuing on my fitness journey.

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