Are you getting enough sleep each night? If not, you might want to consider napping for a few minutes to improve your effectiveness and productivity during the day (especially if you are planning on working out)!
Although experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep per night, only 59 percent are actually sleeping for that long. That means two out of every five people may not be functioning at their best and may need a nap from time to time. That also means that your workouts may be compromised if you aren’t getting enough sleep (the time for muscles and joints to recover)!
In fact, an estimated 50 to 70 million adults in the United States have chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders, and the percentage who report an average of less than seven hours of sleep per night has increased to more than one third of U.S. adults. In addition, nearly forty percent of people polled found themselves unintentionally falling asleep during the day at least 1 day in the preceding 30 days, and nearly five percent found themselves nodding off or falling asleep while driving during the same period.
As a result, people who experience sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, in addition to cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity (according to the Institute of Medicine, 2006). Lack of quality sleep may also be caused by factors attributed to access to technology (i.e., 24/7 access to the Internet, email, social media, cell phones, etc.).
Exercise and Sleep
Although there have been several studies showing the relationship between exercise and sleep, there are NO REAL solid results. Some studies show an improvement in sleep with regular physical activity. Others show an improvement only when the exercise program is established and a regular habit (i.e., it is not a new fitness program that is causing added stress). Studies specifically on people with sleep disorders do show more substantial improvements, but the subjects are already starting off with less sleep than most.
Regardless, adequate sleep can have a significant effect on the quality of your workouts! When you get enough sleep the night before your workout (regardless of when you are planning on going to the gym), your mind and body are better prepared to give the best effort when you go to a fitness class, jump on your favorite cardio machine, or when you get set up for your strength training routine.
Unfortunately, not all of us have control over the quality and duration of our nightly slumber. Lucky for us, we can find time during the day (10 to 90 minutes if possible) to recharge our bodies and get ready for our date with the gym!
The Art of Napping
Regardless of how crappy your sleep might have been the night before … you can make your day better by taking as little as ten minutes for a “power nap” (although 20 minutes is better)! This is especially important if you are struggling to get the gym and you have fitness goals you are wanting to accomplish. Being tired is enough of an excuse to not even go at all for the day.
So … drive to the gym and then close your eyes for just ten minutes while sitting in your car in the parking lot at the gym. When your alarm goes off you will feel both refreshed and ready to tackle your next workout!
If you are getting significantly less than seven hours of sleep the night before, you may want to consider a full 90 minute nap for a full cycle of restful sleep. This will set the stage for a more effective workout and a more enjoyable rest of your day. With 90 minutes you will avoid the groggy feeling of a shorter nap (30 to 60 minutes) and you won’t bail out on your most important meeting of your day … YOUR WORKOUT!