Tuesday Training: The Importance of Sleep and a Wake Up Sleepyhead Workout
Sleep. Most of us love it, a lot of don’t get enough of it, and some of us would do anything for 8 hours of it. But did you know that sleep is absolutely crucial for our health and well being?
Most people have no idea how important sleep is for our bodies to function properly and how it affects so many other areas of our life. I have a few friends that have the mindset that sleeping is a waste of time and “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” (ahem, I hope they are reading this and you know who you are! Wink, wink 😉 ) But, nothing could be further from the truth. So listen up!
Our bodies undergo downright amazing things when we are sleeping. Sleep is a time when our body and brain are repairing, building, and growing to make us happy, healthy, productive humans.
That sounds all nice and dandy, but consider these 10 things that happen to us when we don’t get enough sleep:
1. Our insulin sensitivity decreases, which makes it harder for us to tolerate carbohydrates and burn fat. That means lack of sleep is actually making us fat and making it harder to lose weight.
2. It impacts our mood and well being and we are at an increased risk of depression. It also exacerbates pre-existing psychological illnesses. This quote sums it up best: “Without enough sleep, we all become tall two year olds.” – J. Jensen.
3. Our hormone secretion is disrupted. Releasing of hormones is critical for general health. The secretion of growth hormone that takes place during sleep which is responsible for burning fat , muscle building and promoting cellular restoration is interrupted. Want a flat stomach and great muscles? Getting a good night’s sleep has a lot to do with that.
4. Our blood pressure rises, which puts us at risk of developing certain diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
5. It impairs our immune system and does not give our body adequate time to heal from injuries or illness. Want to get over a cold or injury faster? Make sleep your priority.
6. It decreases our athletic ability. Our speed, accuracy, mood and energy are all negatively influenced. It also impairs our performance, making workouts less effective.
7. It decreases our memory and problem solving skills.
8. It makes us less resilient to daily stress.
9. It puts us more at risk for the common cold and flu.
10. It increases systemic inflammation, which puts us at a greater risk for cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, and other autoimmune conditions.
Pretty bad stuff, right? On the flip side, when we get adequate sleep, those negatives listed above turn into positives. In other words, if lack of sleep impairs our immune system, getting consistent, good night’s of sleep boosts our immune system and makes us less likely to come down with the cold and flu. Another example: If lack of sleep reduces our athletic ability, getting a good night’s sleep will put us at our prime for game day. I don’t know about you, but this chick likes to win and be at the top of my game. Knowing that a good night’s sleep will affect your game day performance should be a no brainer for all those athletes out there.
I’ve always preached about the importance of sleep (I can’t stress it enough – get good sleep!) and the science and latest research are now backing up the claims I already suspected. I hope you are changing your mind if you were one of those people that think sleep is a waste of time.
Because this topic is so important to me, I will very soon come out with an article discussing tips to get good, consistent sleep if you have trouble sleeping like I know so many do.
TUESDAY TRAINING WORKOUT:
Today’s workout is a great one for those needing a boost in the morning. I make it a priority to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, but there are still times when I am dragging in the morning. Doing a quick, 4 minute tabata workout in the morning gives me bounds of energy. That energy that I get from my tabata set literally lasts me for the rest of the day. The latest studies even show that exercise is better at upping energy levels than stimulants, naps, or even energy drinks!
Doing this quick 4 minute workout will get your heart pumping, boost your metabolism, and deliver oxygen throughout your body and will result in a big boost in energy levels! It’s perfect when you need a little pick-me-up. Instead of reaching for that sugar filled energy drink (please don’t do that – I’m begging you), try this out and it’ll work even better, plus you’ll burn fat at the same time 😉
This 4 minute workout is also a great thing to add onto the end of your regular workout. When I do this at the end of my regular workouts, I like to call them “finishers.” It’s kind of like that extra credit assignment that you can do for maximum fat blasting and calorie scorching. Try it and see!
I’m going to give you 2 different options for my favorite tabata workouts. The method is the same. Do 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for a total of 4 minutes. You will need a stopwatch or clock. These sound easy, but tabatas are no joke. They are designed to kick your butt and get your heart really pumping. One study even found that doing 4 minute tabatas are more effective at increasing your aerobic fitness than an hour of moderate cycling. Heck yeah! Energy and fat blasting here we come!
Wake Up Sleepyhead Workout
(pick one option)
Tabata Option 1:
20 seconds of bodyweight jump squats
10 seconds of rest
20 seconds of T-pushups
10 seconds of rest
x 4 for a total of 4 minutes
Tabata Option 2:
20 seconds of swings
10 seconds of rest
x 8 for a total of 4 minutes