This post was submitted by contributor Dr. Andrea Maxim.
Here is a Q&A that Saverina did with Dr. Andrea Maxim about the importance of sleep:
Does sleep influence the desired results of your fitness routine/diet?
Absolutely! Sleep deprivation pretty much affects anything health-related. Just think about it… if you’re working out hard at the gym, you feel the burn in your muscles (lactic acid release) and yet you have an incredibly busy day – go go go. When would your body get a chance to heal and repair? Night time! In fact, your body does all of your physical healing fro 10pm-2am and your mental-emotional healing from 2am-6am. That means, if you’re going to bed too late, or your sleep is disrupted so will the amount of time your body can effectively heal.
How much sleep should you be getting each night?
There is no “defined amount of time”. Quite honestly, it all depends on how you feel. If you sleep 6hrs but wake feeling rested, and full of energy, without the need to caffinate, then 6 hours is probably right for you. Most women need a minimum of 8 hours. I myself, require at least 9 hours to keep me energized and alert during the day. The amount of hours of sleep that you need every day will also depend on your mental stress and your energy output during the day. Some weeks you will need more sleep and other times you can survive off less. One thing that you should promise yourself is that, when you can sleep – you sleep! If you need to take a nap during the day, do so, without any guilt. Your body needs sleep to give you any positive health result!
What would you recommend doing to get more sleep?
There are many reasons why sleep can be affected: Stress (mind racing), eating or drinking too close to bedtime, sleeping with bright lights (TV, iPad, light through your window or hallway, alarm clock), snoring partner, young children, etc. Identifying WHY your sleep is affected is step #1 to starting to improve it. Other things you can take are magnesium before bed or drink a chamomile or “sleepy” tea. Melatonin can be used too if falling asleep is your problem.