A fitness chain in the UK has recently introduced a 45 minute “napercise” class that harnesses the power of sleep to help its client tackle fatigue.
The new David Lloyd offering is primarily aimed at sleep-deprived parents, although you don’t have to have kids to join in. Its launch follows research which showed that 86% of parents said they were fatigued.
Although it may sound a little gimmicky, the new class is recognition of how important sleep is in our day to day lives.
Sleep expert Kathryn Pinkham collaborated with David Lloyd on the project. She explained how the class can actually provide fitness benefits too.
“Sleep is a lot more important than people realise,” she said.
“We tend to focus on the short-term effects such as being tired or lacking concentration but it is also essential for our long-term physical and mental wellbeing too.”
And if you think it’s just a waste of calorie-burning time in the gym, think again.
You can expect to keep burning as you snooze. The room is heated to a temperature which promotes calorie-burning.
Over here on this side of the world, Virgin Active offers its members access to “zero gravity technology” sleep pods for 20 minute naps.
“Our pods recline for optimum napping and maximum comfort, promote blood flow and reduce pressure on the lower back,” the fitness chain says.
It identified the pods as ideal for stressed out office workers and parents with young children.
Ambient sounds send members off to sleep. Subtle vibration then brings them gently back to the land of the living. The aim is to leave them “recharged and ready to tackle the rest of the day”.
But even if your gym doesn’t offer these type of snoozetastic features, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aiming for some decent shut-eye.
A good night’s slumber not only improves your memory and enhances creativity but also has some serious health benefits.
It can improve quality of life, curb inflammation (which is linked to arthiritis, heart disease, diabetes, strokes and premature ageing), decrease chances of depression and lower stress (which has cardiovascular benefits).
It can also enhance your physical performance, by boosting energy levels and stamina, according to a study by Stanford University.
Another study by the University of Chicago found sleep can also help with weight loss. It showed that well-rested dieters lost more fat than their sleep-deprived counterparts who actually lost more muscle mass. Those that had less sleep were also more likely to feel hungry.
So prioritise sleep in your daily routine – the body will thank you.
Do you get enough sleep?