We are the society that doesn’t sleep.
Where our sleep was formerly dictated by the rise and fall of the sun, today the glow of technology keeps us up all night, and sleep deprivation is paraded as a badge of honour in offices and homes around the world.
Sleep debt and insomnia are now rife and likely holding back your weight and fitness goals (we’re shouting to wake you up, sleepy chops!).
Studies have even found that dieters that don’t get enough sleep lose half as much fat as individuals on the same diet that are getting enough sleep.
But even if you’re more focused on strength training, it’s worth noting that you may need about 7-9 hours of sleep minimum to allow the body to fully recover. Especially the major hormone responsible for muscular regeneration, HGH, is actually triggered by sleep. So staying up all night to watch Breaking Bad actually hinders muscles from regenerating after a training session (Walt causing trouble again!)
It’s also worth noting that when we lose sleep, our insulin sensitivity declines, meaning our body produces excessive amounts of it… which means, you’re likely to feel hungrier, burn fewer calories, and feel less sated after a full meal than one of those smug night sleepers.
Of course, sleeping is easier said than done for some of us… so try to do the following to sleep more and look and feel your best:
Come 2 or 3pm, cut the caffeine. Caffeine has a lifespan of about 8 hours in the body… so quit the coffee and yes, black and green tea, and even chocolate, 8 hours before your bedtime.
Switch off the screens. Ideally within a half hour of your ideal bedtime, cut out artificial blue-light sources – TVs, phones, laptops, kindles. If you really can’t live without them, there are apps that change the blue light to red in the evening, which can help reduce their effect on your circadian rhythms.
Find a bedtime rhythm. A regular bedtime routine will teach your body to yield to sleep, and not fight it. So whether it is a certain piece of music that you play, or a shower you take, or a pyjama you wear every night… train your body to spot the signs of an impending bedtime and welcome sleep like an old friend.
Well… just writing this blog has made us sleepy… so we’re going to switch off our blue device now and snooze.
Slumber well, AB-MXRs!