Acupuncture can improve sleep and muscle recovery
How Your Muscles Recover as You Sleep
Just like exercise, sleep is a part of a healthy lifestyle. Many people take sleep for granted — and 35 percent of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of sleep at night.
But sleep is essential for supporting your health. A lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, more overuse injuries, and a decrease in muscle mass. Additionally, if you sleep less than seven hours per day, you’re at an increased risk of developing conditions including obesity, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and frequent mental distress.
What Sleep Does to Your Muscles
Sleep is restorative, like a reset button for your body. When you sleep, your body goes to work to rebuild and regenerate from the stress and activity of the day.
Deep sleep is especially crucial for maintaining health and muscle mass. During this stage, the tissues of the body repair using protein and growth hormone consumed and produced during the day, repairing muscle tissue that you broke down while working out. And deep sleep makes a difference not just in muscle recovery, but in mental acuity and reaction time.
How to Get the Sleep You Need for a Healthy Lifestyle
Sleep is essential for health, but so many adults are chronically short on sleep. Improve your sleep with these tips:
Maintain healthy sleep habits. Anything you do to improve your sleep won’t get you far unless you’re practicing healthy sleep habits. Keep a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each night and day. Walk through the same bedtime routine each night so you can get to sleep easier. And stay away from anything that can interfere with sleep at night, such as exposure to screens in bed, late night caffeine, or napping too late in the day.
Consider acupuncture. Acupuncture can be effective in the treatment of insomnia. If you’re finding it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, acupuncture may help — especially if it is used to alleviate pain or address conditions that keep you up at night.
Create a healthy sleep environment. Where you sleep matters. A healthy sleep environment can help you relax and feel comfortable as you fall asleep at night, making it easier to get the restorative sleep you need. Your bedroom should be cool, dark, and quiet. Couples who share a bed might want to consider a motion-isolating mattress to avoid being disturbed by their partner’s movements.
Carefully time workouts. Exercise is generally good for helping you get to sleep at night. However, if you exercise vigorously too late at night, you may feel too energized to drift off to sleep. Be sure to complete your workout at least a few hours before bed. Consider yoga, stretching, or mindfulness meditation before bed instead of intense exercise.
Always give yourself enough time to rest. Rest days are important for fitness, but you’ll need more than just taking it easy: you need to sleep. Make sleep a priority, blocking out enough time in your schedule to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.