Navigating my Need for Sleep and Rest Days
There are two types of rest, the one you get from sleeping enough and the one you get from pencilling-in a rest day for yourself and not putting your body through an intense workout. Both sleeping and resting your body contribute to positively replenishing your mind, body, and soul. It should be noted that rest days don’t necessarily mean not moving; you can have active recovery days where you engage in light physical activity like going for a walk, or stretching, both of which you should try to do every day. You can even choose to go with low-impact workouts that release pressure, like yoga.
Wouldn’t you want to be sure you’re getting enough zzz’s if I told you that sleeping helps reduce inflammation in the body, it’ll help keep your immune system strong, and help balance the hormones in your body? Make sure you are getting enough hours of sleep for your age, activity level, and needs. Keep in mind that if you’re putting in a lot of work on your physical health, results will be boosted by a good night’s rest. Medical practitioners say that rest is the foundation of overall health. When you work out, your body experiences stress, which triggers an inflammatory response. Although this response is perfectly normal, if you keep working out and pushing your body while it’s in recovery mode you can cause more harm than good. Working out when tired increases the chances for injury and it defeats the purpose of you benefiting from the exercise you’re doing.
What’s important is finding what works for you. Are you someone who needs more sleep or less sleep, would naps be more helpful for your lifestyle? Answering these questions will help you narrow what sleeping habit you should work to adapt. Also, in terms of rest days, the number you need depends on the type of exercise you do and how sore you are the next day. A bit of soreness is to be expected but if you have trouble getting out of bed and walking to the washroom you might want to reconsider going for an intense workout that day.
There’s never a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to your wellness so try talking to your doctor or if you have access to an instructor or coach it can be helpful to get their professional advice whilst testing what works the best for you. Before the start of class I always check in with clients and ask if they’re feeling rested and if they’re sore anywhere; you don’t want to overwork a muscle, much less a sore one.
A tip to try—keep a sleep journal and take note of the times you go to sleep, the quality of your sleep and when you wake up. Keeping track of these for a week or two will help determine your sleep habits and needs. Once you know on how much sleep you best function, you can aim to set a bedtime for yourself to help you get the right amount of sleep before your alarm goes off.
Bottom line, rest when you need and don’t neglect the benefits of sleep and taking a day off!