The picture you see above is my wonderful beagle, Maggie. Maggie loves to sleep and fortunately for her, has no problem falling asleep. She’s always well rested and is consistently on the prowl for any crumbs that we may sprinkle on our floor. Most people on average get roughly 6-7 hours of sleep per night. For some, this may be sufficient, for others not so much. When we sleep our bodies have a chance to recover from the day. If you’re an athlete and push your body to the limit, this is a crucial step in being able to perform well the following day. Let’s discuss briefly how to get better sleep and why sleep is so important.
A study by the American Medical Association published a study years ago and they found that between 62-68 degrees is the best temperature to sleep in. This cool temperature allows our brain to fall into REM, rapid eye movement, sleep. This stage of sleep is important for learning, memories, and mood. When we don’t get enough REM sleep, we often feel “sluggish” the following day. What we sleep on is incredibly important. Mattress should last roughly around 8-10, depending on the manufacturer. Pillows should be changed every 2-4 years as well. Removing as many electronics from the bed room, keeping the room quiet and dark, and having consistent bed times have all been shown to increase REM sleep.
With better sleep comes better outcomes. As we discussed earlier enjoying a good night’s rest will result in better learning. For an athlete this is crucial. Learning a new motor skill is very challenging. We discussed this a few blogs ago so if you missed it, go and check it out! Sleep also helps regulate blood sugar, helps us have a healthier heart, improves athletic performance, reduce muscle fatigue, and provides us a healthier immune system. Research has found, however, that people who sleep for longer than 9 hours a night have a higher calcium build up in their heart arteries and were less flexible.
In conclusion, having a cool, dark, quiet place to sleep for 6-8 hours a night, with consistent bed times and wake up times is extremely beneficial to our bodies. Having the right mattress and pillow will help us wake up with less aches and pains and will improve our quality of life.