The Importance of Sleep

In order to repair and grow new muscle it is important to get the required amount of sleep. During the sleep pattern the cellular machinery can be repaired. Fragments from the tearing down of the cross bridges and other particles that break up during intense exercise in the cell are able to be removed by neutrophils and monocytes. The coded DNA in the nucleus resets the cellular organelles and helps re-establish the proper sodium / potassium and calcium ion concentrations. The cross bridges, myosin and actin, are rebuilt. The end result is that the cell is cleared of harmful fragments and debris left behind during intense contractions. A well recovered muscle will provide an increase in the anaerobic and aerobic enzymes. By having a greater increase in the size and number of these enzymes the muscle is better at utilizing fat and sugar as energy. Also, there is usually an increase in the saracoplasm of the cell.  

Another reason for getting enough sleep is to help maintain proper weight body composition. Not getting enough sleep can alter the growth factors that are essential in allowing the body to be repaired. Sleep hormones are released as the body begins to fall asleep. THis is the natural anesthesia of the body. When the body is in a deep delta wave sleep growth factors are released. For optimal repair and hormone manufacturing the body must get into level 4 sleep. If the body doesn’t get into this state then the body cannot repair effectively. The end result is the fat gain. This is because the muscle never gets the chance to fully recharge producing a catabolic effect. Also, hunger hormones are secreted in high concentrations and this causes a problem with the satiety. The central nervous must be turned off into sleep mode during the night in order to re-establish neural circuitry. Failure to allow the nerves to balance responsive synapse will, over time, cause a break down in the system.

In addition the cardiovascular system suffers from lack of sleep. As mentioned, sleep re-establishes the electrical circuitry of body. When sleep deprived the cardiovascular system is not fully charged and the result is a weaker impulse. This can cause conductivity problems with the heart itself. Irregular heart beats, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks are more prone during weak conductivity.

Mood disorders, irritability, anxiousness, depression, anger, weight loss (muscle loss), fat gain, heart problems are all symptoms of lack of sleep.

The bottom line is that you must get your required amount of sleep per night in order to keep the body systems working effectively. Chronic sleeplessness will cause the body to deteriorate into dysfunction of systems. Now go get some rest!

Daryl Conant, M.Ed


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