Health & fitness: Sleep. Are you getting enough?

Fitness blog: Sleeping

M Wellness personal trainer Brian Talbot gives in to the urge for a siesta

Next in our  series of blogs designed to help improve your lifestyle by James Davis, co-owner of Ibiza gym, health club and spa M Wellness plus an all-round guru when it comes to health,  fitness and wellbeing!

As we spin through the opening parties it seems like there’s always a must-go fiesta of one sort or another to head to. While partying hard is fun and all part of the Ibiza experience, it’s vital make time for sleep as well, as it’s crucial to your physical and mental wellbeing, and even influences your hormone levels.

You might be familiar with the feelings of fatigue, whether brought on by a sleepless night sharing your room with a rogue mosquito, or self-inflicted over a number of nights on the party circuit. When you’re tired you feel lethargic and your mental processes aren’t as sharp as they should be. It’s been shown that tiredness slows down reaction times significantly and while it might just seem like it’s the fuzzy head that’s bothering you, your body also needs recovery time.

Slipping into Spanish mode and ensuring a siesta is one way to top up your sleep levels. While the jury is still out on how much sleep we need, most experts recommend between six and eight hours per day. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be taken all at once: polyphasic sleep is the practice of sleeping more than once a day – perhaps the best known example being the Spanish siesta (sleeping a little in the afternoon, followed by a longer sleep at night) allowing you to make up your sleep during your downtime, perhaps after that second glass of sangria on the beach…

So, sleep when you can and don’t fight the urge to nap. You’d also be well advised to ensure you’ve got an eye mask and earplugs handy, for when the after-party at your villa or hotel goes on longer than you have the energy for, or if the curtains happen to be particularly lightweight. Blocking out sounds and light helps still your mind and aid the slide into sleep wherever you are. If you’ve got a late night flight home, then you definitely want these on the plane too, especially if you’re in the same row as the group that have come straight from Space

Sleep’s not just for your mind though. Whether you’re exercising or just rushing around manically burning up calories, then your muscles, as well as your mind, need time to recuperate. Muscles are actually built during recovery, not exercise, so rest is essential, and if you’re still not convinced and think sleep is for wimps, well, you’d be wrong – just the opposite is true in fact.

A recent US study found having less than five hours sleep a night for a week or longer dramatically reduced testosterone levels. A big worry for the fellas out there, but whether you’re a man or a woman, low testosterone levels can be bad news.

Time for that siesta…