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How important is sleep really for us?

I am really sleepy as I speak to you. And this has been a result of not sleeping well, inspite of knowing how messed up it is going to make me look.

If you are like me, sleep might come to you as only slightly more important than work. In fact, if most of us had our way, we would swing a magic wand and let go of all the need we have for sleeping and make a very fashionable use of all that time to do cool stuff.

Alas, life (and biology)!

However taking a moment to get off our all-night-safari-jeep and appreciating what good sleeping nicely does to us will make you reconsider your stand. Here's some of the goodies that sleep is loaded with:

Do check out another piece I've written on the subject of sleep's importance for health and fitness nuts, HERE!

1. A well slept night can be the difference between a confident lift and a shaky one where your eyes are burning and you are guessing in the middle of a weight, why the hell am I doing this?

2. Training requires you to effectively remember the lifting technique or the act of moving the weight from one point to another. Remember those days when you used to memorize vast chapters before history exams? Somehow we used to remember better when we were fresher as compared to the when we were sleep deprived. It works the same way with weight training.

3. Imagine that you suddenly find yourself under a weight weighing twice or even more times your bodyweight. To come out alive of such a situation, you might require significant degree of alertness to quickly tighten up yourself and generate sufficient tension to support the weight without injuring yourself.

 Sleeping properly can thus help you stay more awake during your heavy training sessions where you might be required to generate force and tension to prevent injuries. I myself have suffered insurmountable spinal pain from lifting heavy when I wasn't fresh. Here is the first hand account.

4. It's a cascading damage. One less than optimal training session renders the very next one ineffective due to a misplaced target weight milestone which in turn brings the performance during the next one down which will be the lower denominator for the next in line, and so on. A properly recovered and alertness and focus driven session can bring your lifting numbers back in place.

A sharp focus, right from the start of the lift requires to have slept properly.

Now this doesn't mean that for someone who has followed his or her sleeping hours like a religion will never experience symptoms of partial recovery during lifting. Sometimes we miscalculate the amount of rest we might require, a common phenomenon in busy lives. Moreover, when surpassing a current max weight, most trainees might need to stay at that new max longer than they might expect. Overreaching without sufficiently recuperating on previous endeavors of surpassing can force you to stop any ongoing training and wait till you feel fully fresh and ready again to conquer the next target weight.

5. Often not recovering enough is what renders a bad rap to lifting too. Most trainees who aren't sleeping enough even after going through intense weight training programs start to experience visible signs of damage and incomplete repair. I myself start to develop facial acne. Hair-fall and dark circles around the eyes AREN'T uncommon too. So is loss of appetite. Accumulating stress can also jettison a high cortisol response resulting in a peculiar fat deposition profile (a classic case of how exercise based stress can also make you fat).

People can conveniently ignore the sleep-gap in this situation and the only element to be blamed becomes the training. Try to not fall into such misunderstanding and ensure adequate sleep adherence.

ironically, a seemingly lethargic sleep is when you are most actively reaping the benefits of hard training.
Ever felt immensely fuller and more focused, clearer in the head after a longer than usual sleep? Chances are that you have been seriously underslept in the recent times. Try to use these reasons as an excuse to get to bed earlier tonight and become a higher bad-ass than you are.

Feel free to shower your thoughts on the subject of sleep for better health and looks. Hit share if you loved the post!