By Lizzie Nichols

A friend of mine called me the other day complaining of how little sleep she is getting. She’s up all night with her mind racing on things she needs to get done the next day or other stresses in her life at the moment. She said she’s lucky if she gets about four hours before her kids come get in the bed with her, waking her up and leaving her wide awake until morning. Insomnia seems to be a growing problem, as every other commercial on TV is for some new sleeping pill with a long list of potential side effects.  Lack of sleep not only makes us groggy and moody the next day but can greatly affect our health and even your workout.

Adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep according to the Mayo Clinic. A study performed by The University of Chicago Medical School tested athletes’ performance on varying hours of sleep. The participants who had a workout on less sleep showed higher glucose levels and cortisol levels.

An article in The New York Times suggests that athletic performance improves so much with sleep that marathon runners would benefit more by getting extra sleep before the race rather than eating high carbohydrate meals.

If insomnia is a problem for you, regular exercise actually helps. With a little more rest, you’ll notice a lot of benefits.