Humans beings are the only species that deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain
If you do not get enough sleep you will suffer from brain impairments and a shorter life. You will increase your chance of getting sick, chronic inflammation, Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, diabetes and low testosterone. You will be more likely to get into a car accident or have a heart attack. All of your athletic attributes like speed, strength and endurance will be reduced.
OK, now that I have your attention. Lets talk about what “enough” sleep is and how you can improve it!
“Sleep is the greatest legal performance enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting”
Have you ever heard someone say:
“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” or
“I survive fine on 5 hours of sleep a night”
Well you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning then you are to possess the gene that allows you to have 5 hours a night.
The stages of sleep
You have REM sleep and non-REM sleep. For a good night sleep, you will need a balance of all the stages of sleep.
You start in stage 1 non-REM sleep and build up to REM sleep, then the process is in reverse. A full sleep cycle will last 90-120 minutes
Your Circadian Rhythm
Basically, your circadian rhythm is your two internal clocks, your periphery and your brain.
I say internal in bold because your body doesn’t care what time it says on your watch, your body tells time from all of its systems! These are your peripheral systems that include you cardiovascular, metabolic, endocrine, immune etc. So, anything you do to get those systems going will signal your body to be awake, like eating a meal or going for a run.
Your brain clock will be affected by all of your senses. Your body is very sensitive to sound and light. You need to limit your exposure to them 90-120 minutes before you go to bed. Dimming the lights and using a salt lamp or candles, using blue blocking glasses and apps for your phone/computers to reduce the blue light. And using some ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones if you live with noisy roommates.
What other things disrupt sleep?
- Our senses. Sound, sight, smell, touch, taste
- Imbalance of hormones
- Stress and anxiety
- Your diet, what and when you eat before bed
- Organ health
- Sleep apnoea
How to get a good night’s sleep
Add in healthy sleep hygiene habits one at a time. The first things you should change are getting black out curtains and turn off the heater. Make your room dark and cold like a caveman. You will sleep best with a room temperature of 18 degrees Celsius.
Aim for consistency. Consistency is king. Go to bed and wake up at the same times no matter if you have work or not. This is something that I have personally benefited greatly from, I always get a minimum of 7-8 hours sleep but when I started going to bed at the same time every night, I have seen an increase in my energy and mood! (my bed time is 8pm lol).
Setting the habit of having regular sleep and wake times will help with consistency. Having better habits in the morning, during the day and before bed will lead to better quality. And then the quantity will come.
In summary… Sleep is your super power and if you want to lose fat, build muscle, learn something and stay healthy. Then you should start rethinking your values and place sleep higher on your priority list.
“Sleep, unfortunately, is not an optional lifestyle luxury. Sleep is a nonnegotiable biological necessity. It is your life-support system, and it is Mother Nature’s best effort yet at immortality.”
If you want more information on how to get a better night’s sleep, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to give you a free online consult.
(Book) Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker- https://www.amazon.com/dp/1501144316