Thursday, March 4, 2010

Brains & Biceps by Laura Kline

Brains & Biceps

A Weekly Column By Laura Kline, BSN-RN and future NPC Figure Competitor

The Power of SLEEP

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved to sleep. I can remember my mother sending me to my room to “clean” and yet an hour later when she came to check up on little Laura there I would be, cozy and warm and asleep in my bed. Alright, so sure when I was little I was a little bit (okay a WHOLE LOT) lazier than I am now but I still love sleep the same way as I did then.

In my adult life, I am busier than ever! This is how a work day (four days a week, 10-11 hours a day) plays out: I wake up around 3am to do my cardio then I come home, shower, get dressed, eat and check emails. I get to work around 615am - 620am (I work at an extremely busy operating room as a registered nurse) and am there until about 445pm to 515pm. When I am at work I am on my feet the majority of my shift except for my 30 minute lunch break. This is a work out just in itself. I leave work and head to weight train on two of my work days and I usually get to the gym around 6pm. If I am lucky I get home before 8pm, eat my last meal of the day, check more emails/blogs/social networking sites and am off to sleep. On the two days I do not weight train after work I am usually so beat that I might just come home, eat my last meal and be in bed before 8pm. Not to mention I have a dog that I must walk and play with everyday!!

So as you can see I am a busy body and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love to be busy!! However, I would not be so efficient if I did not get home and into bed early, I would be run down, worn out and most likely sick regularly. I am the kind of person that hates to be sick and I will avoid it at any cost. Since I am exposed to all kinds of sick children at work and then with all of the training if I didn’t get proper sleep my body would shut down on me.

When you sleep your body is given time to repair itself. For an athlete this is especially essential due to all of the activities we put our bodies through during the day. The body is amazing and when you leave it to itself for a good seven to nine hours, extremely important mechanisms get to work in order to prepare you for the next day. Your metabolism will regulate itself, your energy will be restored for the next day and anything that stressed you out during the day will disappear hopefully into pleasant dreams.

If you are not getting enough sleep (family, children, pets, cleaning, friends; these are the normal interruptions) then you must figure out a way to prioritize your day in order to let your body have the rest it deserves. I am always preparing a lot of food on my days off to rid myself of taking the time to do this on my days I am working. My friends know how important sleep is to me and I can always catch up with them on my days off. Children are luckily not a part of my at home life but I do know there are many full time working mothers that manage to get into bed at decent hours to give their bodies a break from all the hard work they must endure. Of course there are nights where we do not get the sleep we need due to these many stressors and luckily that’s what I feel days off are for; sleeping in! I schedule any appointments I have later in the day on my days off so the last thing I need to worry about is setting an alarm again.

When I discussed this topic with a friend of mine she told me about a coach that actually will schedule sleep into his client’s schedules. I was amazed to hear this and I have a lot of respect for this person. Sleep seems to be one of the biggest events that is missed out on in this country (come on, American’s are known for being workaholics who get no sleep) so to have the ability to hire someone whom focuses in on this with all of your other goals is rare! Now if only we all had our sheets cleaned, beds made and pillows fluffed for us then hopping in and passing out might be a little more inviting wouldn’t it?

“Take a rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop” -Ovid

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