Workouts are how you get strong right? Wrong!!!
Yep, despite all the emphasis on lifting weights, running and all manner of ways to push your body not one of these things actually makes you stronger.
What makes you stronger? Of course I gave you the answer in the title. Sleep!!!
The logic is simple, your body is continually watching out for what you’re going to need so it can prepare you better for what’s coming up. It works on the principle that what you did recently is a good predictor of what you will be doing in future.
So by pushing harder and raising your standards you tell your body to build a stronger you. The main way it responds is through sleep because strengthening (whether you want to do something faster, or for longer or whatever) is easier done when your body is resting than when it is being used.
It’s exactly the same as building work, tidying up or anything like that. You don’t do building work in buildings people are living or working in, you get them out first and you don’t tidy your house when you have guests round, you wait for them to leave first.
Sleep is the same in that the work of recovery and strengthening only really begins when you leave the work of the day behind and your body knows it can make structural changes to important systems. The more important and structural the system the more relaxed you tend to need to be before the work can begin.
Lets face it your body isn’t going to start work on your heart if you’re going to need it any time soon. Other, less critical systems like your skin can be worked on when you aren’t fully relaxed but key structural and functional systems that your body relies on are only fixed when your body is confident that they won’t be needed.
Now, do you realise how crucial sleep is to your health and your strength. It is no understatement to say that
you can only master your health when you master your sleep
So you can probably tell that this is a post I have been longing to write for a while. I planned to do a brilliant post that covers everything you need to know but of course, being a busy parent I don’t see the time appearing any time soon so I have come to the conclusion that this is such an important topic that I should simply start an article and build on it as time allows. That is the way I prefer to do things because there is just so much to say and it’s best to share things a little and often.
So, serendipity stepped in and presented me with a wonderful primer for sleep.
James Clear wrote the article How to Get Better Sleep: The Beginner’s Guide to Overcoming Sleep Deprivation which just sums up so much of the basic knowledge that will get you started.
Like anything in health and fitness and understanding the body you will never know every thing so it’s best just to start building your knowledge.
Getting good recovery is something I have continually worked on. In fact the better I get at it the easier my life becomes. These days I train and work far less yet achieve more and a lot of this has been down to improving my ability to recover. Sleep is the core part of recovery.
So checkout How to Get Better Sleep: The Beginner’s Guide to Overcoming Sleep Deprivation and let me know what you think. How does it help your daily life?