sleeping guy mike kneuerWhile we should all try to get at least 8 hours of sleep, chances are good that we average 5-6 per night. Leading busy lives, many folks view sleep as time better spent doing something more productive. It’s a fact that sleep is right up there with exercise and diet as it relates to your health. Below, I’ve outlined the importance of sleep and how it directly affects your weight and performance during the day.

Weight Gain

After a sleepless night have you ever felt unusually hungry the next day? Lack of sleep has a negative effect on the levels your Leptin and Ghrelin hormones. When Leptin levels are low you don’t feel as satisfied after you eat, this causes your Ghrelin levels to rise, stimulating your appetite resulting in overeating. Studies show that those who got less than the optimum amount of sleep ate 300 hundred calories more per day. When you are sleep deprived, you tend to pay less attention to your food choices; forgoing healthy snacks for unhealthy ones. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine linked lack of sleep to developing or compounding existing metabolic disorders. Sleeping allows your body’s central nervous system to restore itself.

R&R – Rest & Recharge

Recharging your battery is as important as recharging your phone. When you’re sleeping your body repairs and rejuvenates and your brain is preparing for the next day, forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.

 

ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

An adequate amount of sleep is critical in order for athletes to preform their best; a well-rested athlete has greater speed and reaction time. As I mentioned before, sleep is when your body repairs and recharges; during intense training, additional sleep and caloric intake are necessary. Elite athletes shoot for a minimum of 9 hours of sleep per night.

Where did I put my phone?

The inability to concentrate, being easily distracted and not thinking clearly are the results of too little sleep. Have you ever asked yourself the questions above or had to reread a simple paragraph a few times? I’m going to guess that you didn’t have a good night sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine also reported an estimated 250,000 sleep-related traffic accidents each year.

TROUBLE SLEEPING AT NIGHT

So how do we get more quality sleep?

  • Stop looking at anything with a screen for an hour prior to bedtime. Most electronics emit a blue light that tricks your body into thinking its still daylight and your body stops producing melatonin (sleep hormone). This throws off your circadian rhythm.
  • Create a pitch-black sleeping environment. Even the littlest light can have negative effects on sleep quality.
  • Magnesium – I take Magnesium Threonate and ZMA before bed. The magnesium helps calm and relax you.
  • Brain Dump – It is hard to fall asleep when all of your ideas, tomorrows to do’s, and other thoughts bouncing around in your head. Keep a notebook next to your bed and write down all of those thoughts or ideas before you go to bed. By getting them on paper it will mentally allow you to relax. It works.

MORE SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS

Depression, premature aging and cardiovascular disease are just a few potential serious side effects of too little sleep.

Time to hit the hay!

-Mike Kneuer