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As any parents of a newborn will attest, don’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. Add to that list anyone that attempts to function at 100% following an overly extravagant Xmas party. Sleep is often something that is undervalued in the health, wellness and fitness industry, but more and more solid research is showing how a good night s sleep is often more important that pushing out another set on the weights bench.

One Percent Change includes specific questions on sleep in the “wellness” component of the assessment as the importance of sleep should not be taken lightly. As well as having a reparative and restoration effect on the brain and other parts of the body, good sleep helps to regulate the hormonal levels that are responsible for hunger and the feeling of fullness after meals. Mess around with this and the side effects can lead to overeating and increase the chances of heading down the obesity path.

Good sleep also promotes release of human growth hormone which is essential for tissue growth and muscle repair. Intense exercise will often lead to muscle damage – adequate sleep is needed for the repair phase and to prevent an overuse type injury from occurring.

Insomnia or the inability to fall asleep or maintain sleep has been reported to be as high as 40% in Western countries. The incidence also increases with age and this can lead to a significant impact on mental and physical health. Interestingly, it is reported that less than 15% of individuals with chronic insomnia consult a health care provider.

The most common treatment for insomnia is medication, but there can be side effects.  But the good news is that new research has shown that regular aerobic or resistance exercise significantly improves sleep quality in adults over 40 years of age. But as those of you with children will agree, take a kid to the beach for a fun filled action day and odds on everyone will sleep well that night!

So that’s just another reason to get back, get started or keep up the good work with your own exercise routine.

Sweet dreams.