Monday, March 3, 2008

Importance of sleep for building up a fit and healthy body

One important yet often overlooked factor is sleep. When you train you're literally destroying microscopic bits of muscle. These "micro-tears" require time to repair, to grow thicker and stronger in response to the added stress. Think of sleep as protection against muscle wasting. Don't push too hard on one single day, give your body some time to recuperate and then pump in the next day.

During sleep our bodies secret important hormones. Within the first two hours of sleep, the body secretes the greatest quantity of Human Growth Hormone. GH as bodybuilders know, is a natural and powerful anabolic hormone produced by the pituitary gland. GH can promote increased muscle size and inhibit fat storage. Not sleeping enough can diminish the amount of GH your body produces, thereby retarding your muscle development.

Luteinizing hormone and testosterone levels go higher during sleep!If you want higher levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) naturally then sleep more. According to a study conducted at the Haemek Medical center in Afula, Israel, researchers found that sleep produced rises in serum hormone levels in young, healthy male subjects. Serum hormone levels of testosterone, LH, and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were measured every fifteen minutes during a twelve hour period. Hourly testosterone levels were at their lowest when subjects were awake.

As the subjects fell asleep, testosterone levels began to rise (90 minutes before the first REM), peaking around the time of the first REM phase. LH also exhibited similar increases, though preceding testosterone's peak by an hour. These levels remained high until the subjects awoke.

The stimulating effects of exercise can slow down the onset of sleep. Remember, getting big is a by-product of sleep. Don't deprive yourself of sleep.Try to get 5-6 hours of sleep per night. Exercise in the late afternoon to improve sleep. Avoid high-intensity, long duration exercise in the evening, which can impair sleep.

No comments: