Little Bit More Sleep, Lot More Recovery

What do you get when you cross a Nintendo Wii and a Garmin?

Apparently, a better night’s sleep.

Meet Fitbit, the latest in health and wellness technology.  This diminutive device packs a big data punch for those of us who love to crunch numbers.  Moreover, it brings to the forefront one of the most essential components of getting fit – recovery.

Fitbit, whose website launches tomorrow, tracks your fitness through a similar motion-sensing technology to that made famous by the Nintendo Wii and seamlessly uploads that data onto your personal web-based account through wireless technology.  Just clip it on your clothing or the Fitbit wristband and you can instantly track calories, distanced traveled, and even sleep quality.

Yes, that’s right.  Strap on this little sidekick overnight and Fitbit will give you stats on how well you slept – when you went to bed, when you actually fell asleep, how frequently you woke up at night, and how long you were down for the count.

Since we are into science and technology here at Moji, we would probably be so excited about our nightly results that we would hardly be able to sleep.  However, like Fitbit, we understand that every bit of fit counts – even those that aren’t instinctively seen as fitness activities.

Sleep is an essential component of staying healthy and active.  It is the body’s and mind’s opportunity to recover from all the activities of your day.  While you sleep, your body’s pit crew makes much needed repairs through the secretion of HGH (yes, the notorious Human Growth Hormones) and metabolizes energy stores.  Disrupting these natural processes will make you groggy, lethargic, disoriented, and susceptible to injury.

More importantly, your body won’t recover from exercise as readily, causing you to forgo fitness gains you could have achieved with more high-quality shuteye.  You get stronger during recovery phases, not during workouts.  It’s healing stronger and better that build muscles and replenish energy stores. (For more elements to recovery read Sean Lee’s account as to how to “Recover Like the Pros.”

The first step to getting sleep help is admitting (or understanding) that you have a problem.  The Fitbit does that exceptionally well.  However, there are other ways to analyze your sleep.  For instance, you can find similar sleep-tracking gadgets on the market.  David Pogue of the New York Times reviews ZEO, one of several devices designed to monitor sleep habits.  Alternatively, you can go to any of the hundreds of sleep centers endorsed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, (yes, they have an organization just for sleep) and get testing done.

Be it through a Fitbit, ZEO, or a professional clinic, understanding how you sleep is as important as understanding any other component of your day that fuels your active lifestyle.

There are a multitude of sources to learn more about how sleep affects recovery and your ability to thrive.  Our friends at the Running Times discuss the importance of sleep for runners and some hints for getting better-quality sleep.  Likewise, the Mayo Clinic’s website for features the “10 Tips for Better Sleep.”  Or, if you really love science, check out this 2008 study by Dr.  Emmanuel Mignot, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Center for Narcolepsy at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Whatever tools and tricks you use, consider sleep an important component of recovery and learn more about sleep be it by any of the aforementioned experts or one of the most beloved doctors of all time.


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