Do you find yourself feeling groggy, tired, and unmotivated? Also feeling fatigued, bloated, and further away from your goals?
Did you ever think your body was trying to tell you something? Something like your body needs more SLEEP!
With our busy schedules, and the ever-increasing social forces surrounding us on a daily basis, we seem to be spending less and less time in bed.
We focus a lot on training our bodies and what we put in our bodies that sometimes we forget to focus on the small things, like our sleep patterns. Just like diet and training, sleeping is another crucial pillar of health.
I know that so many of us know the importance of getting enough sleep and its effects on our bodies if we don't. However, many of us still do not prioritize getting adequate sleep due to our obsession with productivity. Over the years, there has been a stigma around being "lazy" if we get 8 hours of sleep. But, sleep is the most underrated tool for good health, longer life, and productivity.
If you're having trouble sleeping or you are getting poor quality sleep on most nights, the negative effects could be worse.
HOW MUCH SLEEP SHOULD I BE GETTING?
How much sleep you need changes throughout your lifetime. An infant may need up to 17 hours of sleep each day, while an older adult may get by on just 7 hours of sleep a night.
But an age-based guideline is strictly a suggestion based on research of how much sleep you may need to get as your body's needs change.
CDC guidelines based on age:
Birth to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours
4 to 11 months: 12 to 16 hours
1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours
3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours
6 to 12 years: 9 to 12 hours
13 to 18 years: 8 to 10 hours
18 to 64 years: 7 to 9 hours
65 years and older: 7 to 8 hours
However, these are just guidelines based on age. Many other factors play a part in the amount of sleep you need. Everyone's sleep needs are different, even within the same age group. Some people may need at least 9 hours of sleep to feel well-rested, while others in the same age group may find that 7 hours of sleep is just right for them.
It takes listening to your body and finding out what it needs. Some questions to ask yourself to help you reevaluate your sleep needs:
- Do you feel rested after 7 hours of sleep, or do you need at least 8 or 9?
- Are you having any daytime sleepiness?
- Are you reliant on that morning caffeine or caffeine to get you going throughout the day?
- If you sleep with someone else, have they noticed you having any sleeping issues?
- Do you feel any of the following symptoms throughout your day:
- More irritable or moody
- Less productive and focused
- Appetite has increased
- Judgment and decision-making isn't what it usually is
- Dark undereye circles, dull complexion, droopy corners of the mouth
- Poor Sleep Leads to Weight Gain/ Diminish Metabolism
- Good Sleep Aids Brain Function
- Poor Sleep Can Increase Chances Of Health Issues
- Good Sleep Can Improve Physical Performance
- Poor Sleep Can Lead to Anxiety & Depression
- Good Sleep Strengthens Immunity
Why do we forget about sleep so easily? Maybe because we know we have to do it, but we never seem to prioritize it.
Working, training, and reaching our goals are all things we do when we are awake, so why focus on sleep? Sleep takes us away from goals, right? NO! Sometimes we get so caught up in our busy lives and what we are trying to achieve next, we start wondering how little sleep can we get away with.
Sleep is just as important as achieving anything in life and needs to be focused on just as much! Here are a few tips on getting better sleep every night.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A GOOD SLEEP SCHEDULE
Having a good sleep schedule is more important than you think. If you go to sleep at 10 pm and wake up at 6 am, your body becomes used to this sleeping pattern. It knows exactly when to release certain hormones like melatonin that make you sleepy. If you mess with this sleeping pattern and go to bed at 1 am instead of 10 pm, your hormone release pattern is altered. Your body thinks this change in pattern is because of an external threat. Your brain responds to this by keeping you more alert. It releases more stress hormones to keep you awake, like adrenaline and cortisol. It's your body's primary survival mechanism, but it ruins sleep quality and duration. This is why it is so important to have a good night routine and stick to a good sleep schedule.
WHAT IS GOING ON IN YOUR BRAIN WHEN YOU SLEEP?
Let's start with the two types of sleep: slow-wave sleep (SWS), known as deep sleep, and rapid eye movement (REM), also called dreaming sleep.
During SWS, your brain releases large, slow brain waves, relaxes muscles, and slow deep breathing. This is going to help your brain and body recuperate after a long day. Your body goes through a series of highly orchestrated events that puts the brain to sleep in stages. Technically, sleep starts in the brain areas that produce SWS. When the two groups of cells in the brain stem switch on, it triggers a loss of consciousness.
After SWS, REM sleep begins. It usually starts around 90 minutes after falling asleep. This mode is bizarre because your brain becomes highly active while the body's muscles are paralyzed, and breathing and heart rate become erratic. REM is the state you are going to be able to dream in. This stage is essential because it stimulates the areas of the brain that help with learning and is associated with the increased production of proteins. It's almost as though the brain remembers everything. REM will help repair your body and remake things that have been injured by releasing more Vitamin B. You must get to this specific phase for all pieces to be in place to do that. This means we are completely self-healing. REM allows us to reverse terrible things, but that is why it is so important to get the right amount of sleep and the right quality of sleep.
WHAT DOES SLEEP DO FOR MY BODY?
1. YOUR BRAIN PROCESSES
When you are sleeping, your brain is actually quite busy. It is sorting and storing information from the day. This process is particularly important for creating long-term memories, as your brain consolidates all the information it's picked up during the day and files it away for later use.
2. HORMONES FLOOD YOUR BODY
There are several different hormones released during sleep, all with different purposes. Melatonin, released by the pineal gland, controls your sleep patterns. While you're sleeping, your pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which helps your body grow and repair itself.
3. YOUR SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM CAN CHILL
During sleep, your sympathetic nervous system, which controls your fight or flight response, gets a chance to relax. Studies have shown that when we are sleep deprived, our fight or flight response increases which are also mirrored by an increase in blood pressure. Lack of sleep may directly relate to an increased risk of heart disease due to increased blood pressure.
4. REDUCES STRESS
Levels of cortisol, your stress hormone, decrease during the first few hours of sleep before rising to a peak soon after you wake up. This helps make you feel perky when you wake up and switches on your appetite.
5. YOUR MUSCLES GET A BREAK
As we mentioned before, your body will go through two different phases of sleep, deep sleep, and REM. During REM sleep is when you will have the most vivid dreams. During this stage, your muscles are temporarily paralyzed, meaning your muscles get a break to rebuild and repair.
6. KICKS IMMUNE SYSTEM INTO HIGH GEAR
While you're sleeping, your immune system releases a type of small protein called cytokines. If you're sick or injured, these cytokines help your body fight inflammation, infection, and trauma. Without enough sleep, your immune system might not be able to function at its best.
7 TIPS ON HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP QUALITY:
Making your sleep a priority in your life is a great place to start if you want to set your body up to get the best results possible. Here are some things you can do right now to improve the quality of your sleep.
1. Limit Your Afternoon Caffeine Intake – Avoid caffeine, pre-workout supplements containing stimulants, and other caffeinated beverages before bed because too much of either substance will prevent your body from relaxing and unwinding.
2. Exercise On a Daily Basis (At a Decent Hour) – Daily exercise will enhance your sleep quality and make it easier for you to fall asleep. The optimum time to work out without interrupting your sleeping pattern is in the morning or early afternoon. If you typically work out in the evening, we recommend establishing a relaxing routine to assist your body to unwind following the endorphin rush brought on by exercise.
3. Limiting Night Time Screen Time – It can be simple to watch TV until it's time to go to bed or scroll through social media. However, your body's capacity to attain deep, restorative sleep can be impacted by nighttime screen time. It can be beneficial to limit screen time before bedtime, you can set a social media curfew, or even get blue-light-blocking eyewear! Nevertheless limiting screen time in the evening is good practice for the body & the mind.
4. Watch What You Eat – Eating a small meal, snack even a shake before bed, especially lean protein sources can have significant advantages for fat loss and muscle growth. While your body is entering the repair and healing mode of sound sleep, a Cereal Protein shake is a great way to provide your body with fuel and high-quality protein without making you feel overly full. Before going to bed, stuffing your face can make you agitated as you try to fall asleep due to indigestion.
5. Sleep Targeted Supplementation – It is possible to get better sleep by using dietary supplements that contain components that have been shown to assist in calming and relaxing the body and mind.
6. Don't Force Sleep – If falling asleep is difficult for you, get out of bed, move to another room, and do something quietly until you feel sleepy again. Often I find it helps if I listen to low-toned music or read a few pages out of a current book.
7. Create a Cool & Dark Space – The best sleeping temperature, which changes for everyone, is between 60°F and 67°F. Use a ceiling fan to help keep your bedroom cool, and use the right shades or drapes to prevent light and heat from entering your space. And to help your body cool off before night, you can take a cool shower to help your body relax.
PUT YOURSELF FIRST, YOU DESERVE IT
If we haven't convinced you yet why you should prioritize sleep, let us talk about how it can help you reach your goals. Sleep serves to reenergize the body's cells, clear waste from the brain, and support learning and memory. People who get less than 7 hours of sleep a night have lower overall blood flow to their brain. This means more bad decisions because when you sleep right, you think right. Sleep plays a vital role in regulating mood, appreciation, and libido. Lack of sleep has also been directly connected to gaining weight. Also, for those who weight lift, you are tearing your muscle fibers when you lift, and you need to counteract that by getting enough sleep to repair those muscle fibers optimally throughout the week. Overall, make sure you prioritize yourself and your sleep because your body needs it to be successful and do what you want it to do.
Sleep is crucial to how our bodies function every day, sleep and adequate rest allow our bodies to work effectively. Lack of sleep also causes our bodies to become more susceptible to infection and disease.
This is why it's crucial to understand and become aware of your sleep patterns and alter them into what works best for you and your schedule. Keep in mind that healthy sleep leads to a healthy life!
Try a few of these tips to start prioritizing your sleep and watch as your body and mind become less exhausted and more focused. We hope these help you along your journey to a healthy life!
Give your body what it needs: Built-up immunity & strength with fruits & Greens, and more sleep.