By Pallavi Sharma
Alright! So that may not be the ideal image the word “sleep” would create in your head. But the thought of sleep does condition your brain to trigger feelings of relaxation and calmness throughout your body. It activates the endorphins and you find a perpetual smile on your face. But besides it’s “feel good” aspect, sleep involves more benefits than one to athletes, sports people and regular exercisers like you and me.
Let’s see! You are an enthusiastic exerciser. You make it a point to give your body it’s daily dose of intense workout. You also make sure that your good eating habits are intact and involve everything healthy, fresh and green you can think of. So what is it that is inhibiting your body from growth and changes. It could very possibly be sleep. In a busy world of today where our lives revolve around time-tables, deadlines and check lists, we never take into consideration that this highly charged lifestyle may require some downtime for restorative purposes.
Taking my yoga classes as an example, they always talk about “100% relaxation for 110% effort”. It is almost mandatory for all of our classes to end with a brief period of Shavasana (Corpse Pose). It is a pose which involves lying still on the ground (belly facing up) and letting every little tension in your body release, similar to being in deep slumber. This plays a major role in controlling the blood pressure and obviously is critical for relaxing your muscles and reducing fatigue and anxiety after a hard workout.
http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jun/18/health/he-sleep18 talks about a research in Stanford University on athletes and their enhanced performance on getting adequate amount of sleep. Sometimes even a small “power nap” during the day goes a long way in reducing stress, increasing alertness and hence better performance of your daily responsibilities. Here is a great article which talks about the ill effects of sleep deprivation and the positive effects of power naps http://stress.about.com/od/lowstresslifestyle/a/powernap.htm.
To get into the scientific reasoning behind the importance of sleep, go to http://www.bodyconditioning.info/knowlegde/Thebenefitsofsleep to get advanced information. Let not this competitive world take over mental peace, growth and most importantly “you”. Sleep well, live well and reap the benefits, the world has to offer!