The Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep? Why is this subject on a fitness website? Because, as a middle aged woman like many of you, I am beginning to experience the onset of perimenopause. Many nights I wake up between 1 and 3 and just can’t get back to sleep. I am fighting insomnia, and paying a heavy price. Fatigue upon waking, low energy throughout the day, irritability, feeling overly stressed- these are all the price we pay for not getting a good night’s sleep. Whether it’s from hormonal changes, or a chronic sleep disorder , a lack of sleep affects us in every way. And we are not alone- Americans are sleeping less and less, and many of us think nothing of getting only 5 hours sleep- ignoring the physical and psychological health risks which accompany “insomnia”. Recent studies have shown that behavioral modifications can go a long way to helping us sleep better- but many people do not take this problem seriously- so they never seek help. What are the consequences of inadequate sleep?

– Weak and inefficient muscles due to a reduction in the ability to metabolize sugars during activity/exercise. This results in a sluggish, difficult exercise session.
-Disorders of the nervous system like fatigue,depression, anxiety and more.
-Lowered immune system defenses resulting in more frequent illnesses and even musculoskeletal problems like tendonitis and chronic aches and pains. Insomnia has been linked to the complex musculoskeletal disorder, Fibromyalgia.
– Increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and other physiological stressors.
– Poor concentration, lightheadedness and dangerous levels of fatigue putting you at risk for accidents.
– Inability to lose weight due to raging stress hormones and extreme fatigue.

Although I am not en expert on sleep deprivation, I have many clients who are deeply affected by a lack of sleep. Sometimes they have to cancel sessions, are too fatigued to exercise well, and often cannot handle ordinary, daily stress due to lack of sleep. One dear friend developed high blood pressure as a result of insomnia. If this is a problem for you, the message to take from my posting today is to GET HELP! Consult your physician, or a sleep specialist for more information.