With the Holiday Season in the past and all of us moving into the New Year, desperately attempting to stick to our respective New Year's resolutions, sleep might be the last on our list. We are back to work, back to school, back to the daily routine and back to our respective training schedules. In case we did not have yet any training schedules for this year a week ago, the chances are, now we do - as a result of the resolutions we make around January the 1st... So, just a quick note: don't get lost in all that craziness and do get some rest. As you might know, personally, I do quite a lot of triathlons and in our sport, sleep and recovery is called "the fourth discipline" (after the swimming/biking/running part). It is treated as an equally important aspect of preparation for the next race. Apparently, it is the best to sleep between 7 and 9 hours a day. The researchers are not yet sure why, but any longer sleep does not translate into anything that
would benefit our bodies. They speculate that it might be because people who sleep too long often suffer from some chronic diseases or depression. They are not well; therefore, they sleep longer, but do not tend to profit from all that slumber time. If we sleep any shorter than 7 hours a day, we cause havoc in the hormone levels in our bodies. Stress hormones and hunger hormones skyrocket, causing us to overeat (possibly on so-called "comfort food" the next day. We have less energy and cannot focus well, which results in a skipped workout of the day or a poor workout, without any focus on the performed exercises. The body is in need of rest and simply cannot work on building healthy, lean body tissue or burning fat in any effective way. So, take all of the above into consideration and... Sleep tight!