An often overlooked component to a healthy lifestyle and making fitness, weight loss, and performance gain is the time you spend eyes shut, tucked into the sack each night.  Your sleep is one of the most important components of being healthy and improving health.

Specifically related to exercise and recovery, your deeper sleep cycles are when the most testosterone and growth hormone are released.  These naturally occurring chemicals aid in the repair and rebuilding of the tissue that we break down during exercise.  Sleep is, arguably, one of the most important pieces to your recovery and general well-being.  

So maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t really have time to sleep as much as I need to each night and I feel fine during the day and feel ok during workouts, what’s the big deal?”  Well, several things can come up here.  First, over time if you do not give your body adequate rest and time to repair itself you will potentially get injured, see decreases in performance, or end up overtraining, which presents with little interest in exercise, fatigue, depression-like symptoms.  Additionally, your immune system is at peak function while you sleep and is busy fighting off illness while you’re sawing logs. 

A final note about sleep that is really interesting; a study published back in 2009 found that individuals who slept less than 6 hours during the workweek were 4.56 times more likely to develop pre-diabetes blood sugar levels.  Not only is pre-diabetes an indication that diabetes is on the way if things don’t change, but it also impacts the body’s ability to burn fat for fuel.

Sleep is important.  It recharges our batteries, fights off illness, aids in the development of memories, and helps our body recover from the work we do in class.  When was the last time you truly woke up refreshed from a night of sleep?