American society tends to de-prioritize good sleep and rest habits for too much work and too much exercise. Current research shows plenty of sleep is a key factor in overall health and recuperative rest periods between workouts help the body recharge and get stronger. “In our society, we have this idea that you can just get by without sleep or manipulate when you sleep without any consequences,” said Lawrence Epstein, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “What we’re finding is that’s just not true.” Sleep deprivation “dumbs us down” and dulls the brain and we end up trying to stay afloat in a vicious, stressful cycle. Getting less than seven hours of sleep puts one at a possible risk for heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity and metabolic problems such as diabetes. "People are starting to believe that there is an important relationship between short sleep and all sorts of health problems," said Emmanuel Mignot of Stanford University, who worked on a large study on sleep and nutrition published in the journal, Sleep. "Lack of sleep disrupts every physiologic function in the body," says Eve Van Cauter of the University of Chicago. "We have nothing in our biology that allows us to adapt to this behavior."
Mignot’s work on the National Health and Nutrition Study suggests that the nation's obesity epidemic corresponds to Americans getting less sleep, which disrupts hormones that regulate appetite, and leaves us too exhausted for our bodies to recharge.
Rest and relaxation between workouts should include recuperation time for the body to repair muscle tissue. People who exercise the same muscle groups more than five days a week are following programs usually reserved for elite athletes. According to Bruno Paletto of the University of Tennessee, we are not genetically predisposed to such intense training, which leaves the body over trained or chronically fatigued.
“If the time between workouts is too short, the muscle cannot recover or rebuild before being worked again. When this happens, the muscle becomes chronically fatigued and actually decreases in strength,” Paletto said. Both the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine advise 36 to 48 hours rest between specific muscle group workouts with seven solid hours of sleep at night, plus a healthy nutrition plan and proper work-out technique. There is no one-size-fits-all resting plan in health and exercise for everyone, but your very best plan is in listening to your body and resting accordingly.
Ron Michelson- Bodybuilder, Intern at DIAKADI Body and NSCA CPT- is enthusiastically living a dedicated fitness practice. The lessons he learns creates in him an ability of support for his fellow humans in developing improved body, mind and spirit.