iRun ISSUE 03 2015

Page 18



oor sleep is nothing to yawn at – it takes a toll on our mind, mood and miles. There’s really nothing else that kills your ability to function quite like a lousy night’s sleep. Actually sleep deprivation has been deemed a national health epidemic – five million of us will have trouble sleeping tonight and be tired tomorrow. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. Restless nights are not only a game wrecker, but they put us at an increased risk of all sorts of health issues, including heart attacks, cancer and a shortened lifespan. “For optimal health and fitness, you have to sleep on it,” says Barrie Shepley, runner and trainer of elite athletes at “Longer sleeps and naps is what lets the elites train harder and recover faster.” According to Shepley, a former Olympic coach, rest is critical to performance. “Sleep


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is one of the most effective ways for a hard training athlete to recover. The biochemical adaptation that occurs during sleep is as important as the actual workout to improve performance.” Fatigued cells and systems need sleep to regenerate, says Shepley. “Whether it’s a nap or a full night sleep, your least expensive training aid you can do is simply to get some more sleep.” Quality sleep also equates to good relationships, says Dr. Judith Orloff, a psychiatry professor at UCLA and author of Emotional Freedom. “It is hell not to get a good night’s sleep.” Irritability and resentment build if your partner’s bad sleep habits keep you from snoozing, says Orloff. “Life is not fun!” Hell hath no fury like a frustrated, sleep-

deprived spouse. “I have saved more marriages as a sleep specialist than I ever would have as a marriage counselor just by getting people back in bed together,” says leading sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus. Sleep affects most areas of a person’s life, says Breus, author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan. “We know that it affects your cognitive abilities your physical abilities, and your emotions. This appears to be a two-way street; poor sleep will affect these areas in a negative manner and good sleep will affect these areas in a good or positive way.” Most of us will spend an average of more than 10,000 full days of our lives sleeping - or at least trying to fall asleep, stay asleep or worrying about not sleeping! So if you’re wired, tired and sleep deprived, wake up and tame those sleep saboteurs with our exhaustive A-to-ZZZs guide of tricks and tips to get the sleep you’ve always dreamt about. Sleep is a glorious thing – bring it on!

iRun to inspire others. — Mark Kerr, Ontario

2015-04-09 1:19 PM

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