How (lack of) Sleep Effects the Body

People tend to underestimate the importance of a good nights sleep, including myself at times.
We will make sure to have everything in line (training, nutrition, and supplementation), but totally push sleep to the back burner.
Sleep is essential for health and survival. Even if you don’t live the healthiest lifestyle, you can still live a long life… But if you deprive yourself of sleep, you and your body will start to “shut down,” in a couple weeks.
The average adult gets about 7 hours of sleep. One-third of the population gets fewer than 6.5 hours.
People who sleep less than 6 hours are more likely to gain more weight (2x more) over a 6 year period, compared to people who get 7-8 hours. Excessive sleep can have the same effect (9+ hours of sleep).
So like everything in life, there is a happy medium. You want to make sure you are getting enough sleep, but not too much. I also wanted to say that everyone is different. Yes, the studies may say that you need 8 hours of sleep. But some people feel better on 6. I would recommend you figure out what works best for you. As long as you feel well rested and are able to function at your best throughout the day, then you are good.

Most people lose sleep due to “voluntary bedtime delay.” Such as, watching TV, browsing the internet, going out, being on the phone, etc. These are all things you choose to do instead of getting a good nights sleep.

“Sleep loss due to voluntary bedtime curtailment has become a hallmark f modern society… Chronic sleep loss, [whether] behavioral or sleep disorder related, may represent a novel risk factor for weight gain, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.” – Spiegal, K.
A 2005 study found that people between the age of 32-49, who sleep less than 7 hours, are more likely to be obese. Staying up past midnight also seemed to increase the chance of obesity.
Some scientists think that a lack of sleep can disrupt the hormones that regulate appetite, which results in fat accumulation. There is also the belief that the physical discomfort of being overweight and sleep apnea reduce the chances of getting a good nights sleep.
Not getting the proper amount of sleep (& good quality) can cause…
1. Lowered glucose tolerance
2. Increased evening and nocturnal cortisol levels
3. Lowered leptin levels
4. Insufficient thyroid stimulating hormone
All creating the perfect formula for weight gain.
Plus, being up later means you have more chances to overeat and/or “cheat” on your diet/macros/meal plan.
Not only can a lack of sleep cause weight gain… It can also put you at a greater risk of heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Daily life function will also suffer (mood, cognition, and memory).
“…Sleep is just as important for overall health as diet and exercise.” – Carl Hunt MD, Director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the NIH
FUN FACT: Naps can help lower your blood pressure.
Ways to Improve Your Sleep:
1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Try to wake up at the same time each morning, and go to bed at the same time.
2. Eliminate caffeine after 2pm. I personally cut it off at 5pm, but I might change it to 2pm because I have been having issues getting quality sleep.
3. No light! This means limiting your TV, computer, and phone time (screen time) before bed. You can turn on an automatic dimming on your electronics. I would also recommend getting blackout curtains or an eye mask.
4. No noise. I know this one can be hard; and some people don’t like to sleep in silence. Ear plugs can help or having white noise.
5. Pre-Bed relaxation. Do something that relaxes you before going to bed. You can meditate or stretch. I like to focus on my breathing and do my best to not think about anything else. You can also journal; this can help you clear your mind.
6. Having your bedroom at a cooler temperature. 66-72 degrees is supposed to be the “perfect” temperature.
7. Exercise! Getting in physical activity during your day will help you use up energy.
8. Eating before bed. This one is a little ehhh. If you go to bed hungry, you will most like wake up in the middle of the night sleepwalking your way to the kitchen. BUT… If you go to bed after a huge meal, this will cause your body temperature to rise, which can result in a night of sweating and tossing and turning. I like to have protein pudding before bed. 1 scoop of casein protein powder + 1 tbsp of natural nut butter + a little bit of water (you can use as much water as you’d like).
9. Supplements. Some things that I take before bed are Calm, Magnesium Glycinate, Gaba, & Melatonin. Valerian Root & Phenibut is also really good.
10. Get a good mattress and good pillows. I need both of these! Lol.

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