Sleep, it’s really important

18 Aug

Do you know the true value of sleep beyond just being rested and feeling good?

During the HLS this weekend I learned that I’m not getting enough sleep and it’s having an impact on my health and fitness goals. Two surprising things I learned are that sleep deprivation reduces the hormone that makes us feel full and hungry. It also puts the body under a constant state of stress making it release cortisol. Cortisol is often called the stress hormone. It’s a naturally occurring hormone in the body and in small doses it performs many essential functions, however when there’s too much it can be damaging. Some of the negative effects are decreased bone density, higher blood pressure, lowered immunity in the body, slower wound healing, increased abdominal fat and breakdown of muscle tissue.

I would like to call some attention to that last one. All this hard work at the gym lifting weights, building muscle is compromised because we didn’t catch enough z’s. Seriously?

That actually explains quite a bit for me. I haven’t shared much yet on this blog about my workout routine but I’m a girl who lifts weights (a lot of weights), I do push push-ups and I’m very strong. It’s been this mystery to my trainer and to me why I don’t have more muscle definition and this may very well be the culprit. Typically I get 6-7 hours of sleep, leaning closer to the 6. When I was in college it was worse than that. So I imagine over time my body has been working inefficiently.

There’s a great article I read on about the impact of sleep that goes more in depth about what happens to the body during sleep and lack of. Even if you’re not into body building, this site is a great resource for health and nutrition information.

As part of the next challenge sleep will be one of the new habits that I will be including into my daily actions.

One Response to “Sleep, it’s really important”


  1. When Sick, Let Yourself be Sick | Joanna's Fitness + Nutrition Blog - September 10, 2010

    […] faster or more effectively, it just produces extra Cortisol, and we learned about the effects of too much Cortisol a couple of weeks […]

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