Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Exercise vs. Sleep

Hey y'all.  I know I've been hit and miss (yes, mostly miss) on this blog lately and I'm sorry if you've been waiting on the edge of your seat for my next post (come on, someone flatter me, please).  You know, we just get busy. Isn't that always the excuse?  Truth is my JOB has been super busy and demanding and our FirstFitness business has just skyrocketed with the launch of the Ultimate Body Challenge and I've got some pretty big upcoming gigs on the Social Media consulting I do.  

But don't feel left out, other things are being left undone too.  Like the dishes, the laundry, oh, you know how it goes.  

Given all of that, I have been very consistent about getting to the gym most mornings while most of the world is sleeping and have taken up spinning 2 days a week. Last week, however, I slept through a couple of workouts and the ones I did make were just feeble attempts at showing up.  At first I felt guilty, like a big slacker and just beat myself up about it.  But then I realized I had been out late every night for 7 nights in a row either working or doing church or one of the many things that demands my time these days. I was averaging about 5 hours of sleep a night. I started thinking "should I deprive myself of sleep so I can get to the gym at 5:30 am?"

So, exercise versus sleep. Which matters most in a healthy lifestyle?

I believe its sleep.  When you sleep better, you eat better and what you eat is what ultimately fuels your body.  I worked on an article a while back with author Ed Boullianne entitled How Sleep Deprivation Effects Weight GainLack of sleep can turn your best efforts into an absolute nightmare. There is a definite sleep-weight connection and it's all about metabolism and hormones. When you are not recharging your body with at least 7 hours of sleep each night, it produces more of the “I’m hungry” hormone, Ghrelin and less of the “I’m full” hormone, Leptin. This results in you eating more. Additionally, lack of sleep slows the body’s metabolism and increases your cravings for high-carb or sugary pick-me-ups later in the day.

Medical research is clear about what happens when you don't get enough sufficiensleep.

Take a look at what Dr. Don Colbert says about sleep in his book"The Seven Pillars of Health"

1.  You increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Even in young, healthy individuals, a sleep deficit of three to four hours a night over the course of a week affected the body's ability to process carbohydrates, leading some people into a pre-diabetic state.

2.  You become clumsy and "sleep drunk".  Lack of sleep slows your reaction time, shortens your attention span, and impairs your memory, your decision-making process, and your coordination. 

3.  You jeopardize your job.  According to the National Commission on SleepDisorders at the National Institutes of Health, sleep deprivation costs an estimated $150 billion a year in higher stress and reduced workplace productivity. 

4.  You endanger your life and the lives of others.    Sleep deprivation is responsible for at least 100,000 crashes and fatalities a year. according to 2002 report from the Nation Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

5.  You invite diseases.  A host of physical conditions are associated with insomnia, including chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndrome, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, obesity, depression, and other forms of mental illness.

6.  You reduce your sex drive.    Sleep deprivation raises cortisol levels, which blocks the normal response of the testicles to testosterone and decreases the production of hormonal precursors to testosterone.  This is one reason young men in military boot camp generally have a lower sex drive.

So, no more feeling guilty about sleeping through your alarm on occasion. Your body needs rest!

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