The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep
Looking for a simple way to improve your health? A good night’s sleep is an essential, yet often overlooked, part of a healthy lifestyle. According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis, and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life.”
"Many things that we take for granted are affected by sleep," Raymonde Jean, MD, director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City told Health.com. "If you sleep better, you can certainly live better. It’s pretty clear."
The Exercise / Sleep Connection
For those of us who are athletes, or who just want to improve our physical fitness, sleep plays an especially crucial role. Writes Health.com, “If you’re an athlete, there may be one simple way to improve your performance: sleep.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s website, Sleep.org, “getting more sleep leads to better sports performance,” and the more you train, the more sleep you need.
Sleep.org cites a Stanford University study which found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less fatigue and more stamina during the day. The reason is that physical activity puts stress on your body, especially the muscles and the nervous system. When you sleep, your muscles have the opportunity to repair themselves, making you better prepared to perform at your very best – as an “EleVen” – the next day.
While sleep will help improve your workout, exercise will return the favor, as working out will help you have a better night’s sleep. It’s been shown that as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can dramatically improve the quality of your nighttime sleep, especially when done on a routine basis. In addition, people who work out regularly can reduce their risk for developing sleep disorders like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
And while it used to be thought that working out too late would disrupt sleep, exercising at night doesn’t interfere with everyone’s sleep. It depends on the individual, so do what works best for you.
How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?
So how much sleep is enough to qualify as a good night’s sleep? It varies by age. According to the National Sleep Foundation:
- School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
The Bottom Line
Whatever your goals, a good night’s sleep can help you to reach them. Writes Health.com, “…if you’re trying to learn something new—whether it’s Spanish or a new tennis swing—you’ll perform better after sleeping.”
Make a good night’s sleep a priority, and you might be surprised at the new levels you can achieve in your performance, whatever your pursuit. And of course, when you wake up after having a great night’s sleep and are ready to take on the day, EleVen has everything you need to do so in style.