Summer is the season to get outside and get moving, whether it’s an exciting game of baseball, a refreshing swim in the pool, or just an invigorating jog around the block. After a big workout, though, it’s important that you give yourself a chance to recover so that you get the full benefits of the activity without hurting yourself. Fortunately, there’s a simple, straightforward way to do this: catch some z’s! Here’s why a good night’s rest – free of disorders like sleep apnea – can be the perfect follow-up to intensive exercise.
How Does Sleep Help the Body Recover?
Everyone knows that working out is the key to helping your muscles grow stronger, but did you realize that it’s not the actual physical activity that does this? Exercise taxes your muscle tissues and causes them to break down. It’s the rebuilding process afterwards – when the damage is repaired – that allows your muscles to grow. This important step only happens while you’re at rest.
Sleep is your body’s best opportunity to heal damaged tissue, which means it can help you make sure that you get the most out of your workouts. For example, one study found that college tennis players who got more sleep tended to sprint faster and hit with better accuracy. Furthermore, a lack of sleep can worsen your mood and decrease your energy levels, both of which can affect your physical performance in the future. That’s why getting plenty of sleep after you’ve exerted yourself can make all the difference!
How Can I Get the Most Out of Sleep?
Of course, the quality of your sleep matters; that means making sure you get as much shut-eye as possible. Here are some tips for sleeping through the night:
- You should be getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night; that means allowing enough time to actually be asleep, not just resting in bed.
- Set your bedroom’s temperature to about 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. A nice, cool environment helps ensure better-quality sleep.
- Shut out all sources of artificial light with a sleep mask.
- Avoid electronic screens for about an hour before bed, as they can prevent the brain from producing enough of the hormone melatonin used to regulate sleep.
What If I Have a Sleep Disorder?
If you still feel drowsy during the day even after what you thought was a full night’s rest, you might have a disorder like sleep apnea. (Your partner might notice this condition before you do due to the loud snoring!) Sleep apnea can cause the body to temporarily stop breathing and briefly wake up multiple times throughout the night. If this happens, you won’t be able to fully recover from daytime exercises and may even suffer from serious health problems down the line.
If you suspect you’re not resting well, find a sleep dentist who can arrange for a sleep test; if they discover you have sleep apnea, they can prescribe an appropriate treatment such as an oral appliance. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep so that you can stay in shape and reach your summer goals!
About the Author
Dr. Dustin C. Lively began his dental career in 1997. When he discovered that dentistry could help people suffering from sleep apnea or snoring, he decided to undergo advanced training so that he could create and provide custom-made appliances so that his patients could get a full night’s rest to keep their bodies healthy and strong. To schedule an appointment at his practice in Magnum, EZ Sleep Solutions, visit his website or call (580) 706-2088.