Why Sleep Is Important...

I'm a big believer in following the pillars of health (healthy diet, staying active, quality sleep & connection) and one of my favourites is sleep. Sleep is one of the pillars of high performance. Your whole body runs better after a good night's sleep. It's worth your time to learn how to hack your sleep so you can get the most restorative rest.


There are a ton of benefits to sleep, to name a couple:

  • muscle recovery

  • hormone balance

  • brain function

  • longevity

  • fat burning


DEEP SLEEP vs. LOW QUALITY SLEEP


After mild sleep deprivation (staying up for 19 hours), your reaction time, attention, memory, and mental accuracy all drop significantly,[1] and your brain performs as if you had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent.[2] and after 24 hours without sleep you perform like you're legally drunk.


On the other hand, a night deep sleep gives your brain a chance to clear out cellular waste and repair old and damaged brain cells. You wake up with 50% faster mental processing, stable mood, and an increased ability to learn [3][4].



Tip:

Getting into the 2 deepest stages of sleep: stage 3, which is when you dream, and

stage 4, which is when your brain does the most repair and restoration.



Low quality sleep will slow down any progress at the gym. The body needs sleep to repair, if not your hormones go in all the wrong directions. Your testosterone and growth hormone levels drop, impairing the way your body processes protein so you have a harder time building more muscle[5]. To add to that, your cortisol goes up, promoting fat storage and activating muscle degradation[6]. All that time building muscle for not much progress.


Tip:

  • If you exercise on the regular, aim for 7 - 9 hours of high-quality sleep.

  • Black out your room - light exposure drastically has an impact on sleep quality. You want your body to be constantly producing melatonin ( a sleep hormone) at night, but if it's exposed to light then your body gets confused if it should be producing it or if you should be waking up[7].

  • At the end of the day (pun intended) getting fewer than 8 hours of sleep is not terribile, as long as the quality of your sleep is good.


SLEEP HYGIENE

  1. Daily exercise

  2. Create a comfortable space - get excited for bedtime

  3. Try to keep electronics out of the room, and off the phone 2 hours before bed

  4. Get into a routine that fits your schedule. Maybe that looks like starting out with washing your face, brushing your teeth, getting cozy and reading a book.

  5. Make sure your lights are dim, this sends a signal to your body to relax and induce sleep.

  6. Eat balanced meals: healthy fats (avocado, seeds, nuts, cold pressed oils), complex carbs like carrots, turnips, beets, sweet potato, leafy greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard, romaine, bok choy) contain phytonutrients and vitamins C, K, A which help your body get in a more restful sleep.

  7. Avoid eating 2-3 hours before bed to promote optimal digestion

  8. Caffeine - While coffee does have some benefits (if bought organic and free from mold) try to avoid any after 12 pm and limit to MAX 2 cups

  9. Although sleep does not come naturally to some, especially during times of stress (hello pandemic)


Sleep is essential to your overall well-being. Make sure you take advantage of my freebie download, sleep hacks.







[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19742409/

[2]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1739867/

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1739867/

[4]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5458149/

[5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2757458

[6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21550729

[7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19095474