Sleep is the most beneficial thing you can do for your health, mood, and performance. It ranks above training, mobility, and mental training.
We need about 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and no, we can’t “survive just fine on less” In fact, one of the impacts of sleep deprivation is we can’t tell how impaired it’s made us!
Some of the effects of a sleep deficit include:
- Up to 10-15lbs extra weight gain per year. We make poorer food choices while sleep deprived, our hormonal response to food changes, and yes, we are just up longer to eat more!
- Our mood and mental health suffer. Everyone knows what it’s like when a child is cranky from lack of sleep. As adults we’re pretty similar too. Being tired puts us in a state of higher threat detection. We all know as well that problems seem more manageable after a good night’s sleep.
- As athletes, our time to fatigue decreases with each hour of sleep lost, and our risk of injury goes up too.
Some strategies to help you get better night’s sleep:
- Reduce/eliminate caffeine after 12 noon. It takes our body quite a while to process this stimulant.
- Set a bed time alarm. We usually have one to wake us up, and modern smartphones can be set to give us a “wind down” alarm for us to prepare to go to bed.
- Reduce overhead lighting, particularly blue wavelength lighting. This sends a signal to our brains that it’s daytime and we should be awake. Reduce screen time at night, or turn on night time mode on your phones/computers.
- Ensure your room is cool and dark. You can still be snug in your warm bed, just make sure the room is colder than normal to allow your body temperature to drop so you can sleep.
Our challenge to you is to record your sleep time for the week and aim to increase it by just 10 minutes. That’ll give you an extra hour of sleep this week!
Check our “Why We Sleep” for more info!