Have you ever felt tired in the morning even if you slept for 7 hours or more? Blame your sleep cycle.
Your body has hundreds of different cycles fluctuating in various rhythms. From nervous system shifts that occur with every heartbeat to daily and monthly hormonal fluctuations, almost everything in your body ebbs and flows. It’s when something becomes fixed in a flat-line pattern that we run into problems.
Healthy sleep results from a robust up and down cycle of various hormones. Ideally, our heart rate, body temperature and cortisol (an energy mobilizing hormone which responds to stress) are at their lowest in the second half of our time asleep. Towards morning, cortisol begins to rise rapidly in what is known as the “cortisol awakening response” (CAR), heart rate and body temperature elevate, and our body naturally primes us to wake up and face the day.
This spike in cortisol tapers off throughout the day, assuming you don’t get chased by a lion or yelled at by your boss at home time (both of which will induce a huge stress response). Toward evening, your body ramps up production of a rest-promoting neurotransmitter called adenosine and, triggered by the absence of sunlight, begins producing a hormone known as melatonin, which helps to trigger the sleep cycle.
An Extra 7 Hours of Influence Per Night
As active gym users, you're already making a huge difference in your lives, but you can only do so much in the gym. Improving your sleep quality enables you to exercise your positive influence over your body for an extra 7 hours a day, while helping you to increase your opportunities to gain more muscle, lose more fat, and become even healthier.
Take a look at our tips for improving sleep.