Here’s the good news if you are starting an exercise program: sleep is really important.
Most people need eight hours of sleep a night and recent research suggests teenagers may need more, up to nine or 10 hours, because their bodies are growing and changing.
But that should be solid, uninterrupted time sleeping and does not include the time spent getting to sleep or lying in bed in the morning.
The reason is the importance of what is known as REM sleep, or Rapid Eye Movement. A number of sleep studies have revealed there are periods throughout the night when the sleeper experiences rapid eye movement. Brainwave patterns suggest these are periods where you will have lucid dreams, even if you don’t remember them when you wake up.
Further research suggests these periods help the brain process information from the day and are also beneficial for general wellbeing and health.
If you are a night owl who likes to stay up late but still has to get up early for other commitments, you may find you can very quickly become frazzled and annoyed by little things.
Lack of deep sleep for more than a day can lead to irritability and tiredness and longer periods without sleep can cause more serious symptoms including irrationality and hallucinations.
Athletes and fitness professionals maintain consistent patterns of sleep, particularly if they are building stronger muscles. This is because, along with correct nutrition, the body requires proper rest periods to repair and strengthen muscle tissues.
That’s also why an exercise program that focuses on particular muscle groups will recommend having at least one day of rest before working on those muscles again.
So if you want to get healthy, make sure you get some rest, just don’t overdo it!