The ZZZ’s of a fit lifestyle

Cathleen Kronemer

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT

“To sleep, perchance to dream…..”

While this is a beautiful literary sentiment, the importance of sleep represents more than just an ideal time to allow the mind to rest and drift. The hectic pace at which the majority of us live our lives necessitates an adequate amount of rest each night. Yet so many of us fall short in this arena.

Giving our bodies an appropriate amount of rest does more than just provide us with a sense of renewal with which to face the day. Research has demonstrated that individuals whose sleep patterns are insufficient or interrupted actually have a more difficult time with weight loss. It has been hypothesized that sleep deprivation causes a spike in the hormone ghrelin, which is an appetite-stimulating hormone. Combine this with the fact that a constant state of fatigue renders one unlikely to engage in physical activity, and the emerging picture becomes even clearer.

In addition, fatigue can wreak havoc on the nervous system, and often causes individuals to turn to sugary snacks and excess caffeine during the day in an effort to keep going. This just exacerbates the vicious cycle, one which then becomes even harder to break.

While experts suggest striving for a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night, the dynamics of a busy lifestyle may sometimes preclude this from occurring. Taking a mid-day nap, even for 20 minutes, can do wonders for restoring the body’s hormonal balance. So catch your ZZZ’s and keep your body working to perfection!!!