Studies show that sleep deprivation can lead to illness, sometimes fatal, never mind disrupting physical training.
Dr Jonathon Bloomfield, managing director of Support 2 Perform, described how “loss of sleep is a debt that will have to be repaid later in life.”
Due to growth and maturity, different age groups require different forms of rest. Lets not forget that our bodies grow not when we’re active, but when we’re resting. This explains how integral rest days are to our physical development; smashing the gym seven days a week isn’t going to get you your fitness model body.
Babies require between 15 and 18 hours sleep every day/ night, as this is the point in life when we grow the quickest. Moving into our teens we go through growth spurts and different forms of sexual and mental maturity and we need between 10-12 hours every night.
As we get older, this growing process slows and we need less sleep in order to allow our bodies to recover. “A person in there 40’s for example would only need around six hours each night” said Dr Bloomfield.
I’m 22 and I require between 8 and 9 hours every night, but interestingly the sleep we don’t get, will add up and create a defecate that can effect our health and wellbeing later in life.
Have you ever gone through a period were you can’t get through the day without an afternoon nap? I did about a year ago and Dr Bloomfield tells me that this is a knock on affect of my sleeping pattern when I was a teenager getting up at 5.30 every morning for pre-school swimming training.
My routine consisted of swimming at 6am, school at 8.30 and bed at about 10.30. I was always knackered in school but had to wait until after lunch to have my nap, or ‘Learning for Life and Work’ as it was known on the curriculum.
“This is why elite swimmers have short careers that end coming into their mid twenties” said Dr Bloomfield. “Its not that they aren’t as good as they once were, it’s because their body need to repay the debt of sleep deprivation cause by eight or nine training sessions per week when they were 14.
“The most famous example that springs to mind is Margret Thatcher, who ran the country on four hours each night for over a decade. She suffered illness after illness and it eventually proved fatal as a result.”
If your physical condition is as important to you as the effort you put in seems to suggest, go to bed at night and grab enough z’s to help your body function the next day. Your life could depend on it.