The importance of sleep for overall health and well-being
If you’ve come upon this article, and our other great resources on weight loss, healthy eating, exercise and healthier living, you’re likely interested in improving your life, your health, losing weight and just being more awesome overall. And that is quite admirable and a smart choice since many people devote hours of their week to intense exercising, or a great deal of effort on their diet and supplements, but still don’t pay much attention to getting a bit more sleep every night and to improving their sleep quality and hygiene.
This is sadly a sure fire way to sabotage your goals and the results you get on your fitness journey, since better sleeping can be one of the most important and productive tools and strategies in your journey to a better health and better shape. So read on to learn how important sleeping can be not only for your weightloss goals but to improve every other area of your health and fitness.
Lack of sleep as a health problem
It might not come as a surprise in today’s highly cranky and distracted society that most people don’t get enough sleep, at least not enough according to the 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society to promote and maintain good health.
The average adult sleeps 6 hours or less according to various studies and polls and this lack of sleep can have detrimental effects on health like increased cortisol, lowered leptin (the hormone that makes you feel satiated with your meals), lack of focus, concentration and many other negative long term side effects like:
- A strong association with cardiovascular disease: high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Lowered glucose tolerance and the ability of the body to manage blood sugar which can highly increase the risk of metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes.
- Sleep deficiencies have also been linked to worsened immune function, increased inflammation, increased pain and even a reduced response to vaccines.
- Imbalance of hormones and metabolism like leptin, ghrelin, thyroid hormones and also reducing the bodies sensitivity to hormonal response and regulation.
- It can also affect mental health as there are strong associations between lack of sleep and conditions like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders, as well as an overall lower quality of life.
- And an increased risk of death and accidents like drowsy driving or work accidents related to heavy machinery and lack of sleep.
Sleep deprivation symptoms
To know if you’re not getting enough sleep, or that you need to improve your sleeping habits for a better rest at night keep an eye for these symptoms of sleep deprivation:
- Excessive daytime tiredness and sleepiness, or an overall lack of energy and motivation.
- Daytime cognitive impairment like lack of focus or concentration, slower thinking, worsened memory or inability to maintain concentration for extended periods of time. You can also notice these if easy tasks take longer to complete or are not performed adequately.
- Mood changes and irritability to situations that would regularly not cause a negative emotional response. This can include symptoms of anxiety and stress like accelerated breathing, higher blood pressure, sensitivity to noise and light
Sleeping benefits and how to improve your sleep
Conversely, with a few lifestyle changes you can start improving your sleeping habits and get enough sleep, find it easier to fall and stay asleep and reap benefits for your health like:
- Better cognitive functions like better memory, focus and productivity at work and school.
- Easier time getting and staying in shape, losing weight and gaining muscle
- Better performance at sports, exercise and more energy and desire to move throughout the day
- Getting sick less often as a result of a boost to your immune system
- Reduced risk of chronic disease related to your heart health and metabolic disorders.
And if you’re convinced of taking steps to improve your sleeping habits and thus your overall health. Here are our best tips to start changing your night’s rest and boost your health and body composition by creating a sustainable sleep routine that allows your body to prepare for sleeping. This should include things like:
- Reducing blue light exposure from electronic devices close to going to bed. Start small with just 10 minutes before going to bed and then increase that time every week.
- Keep alcohol intake moderate as it can lead to restless sleep and reduced sleep hygiene.
- Reduce caffeine intake for a few hours before going to bed. Pick a starting time that is comfortable like 5pm and work your way down after a couple of weeks.
- Improve your nutrition, as this can have a direct effect on sleep quality, restlessness at night and staying asleep. On the same token try to stay hydrated during the day. If you’re not sure on how to improve your nutrition you can check our articles on the topic or also consider our great meal prep services.
- Move more during the day to help your body’s circadian rhythm and have a better night sleep.
- Try de stressing techniques at night like journaling, breathing exercises, light stretches or meditation.
- Don’t try to change everything at once as this can increase stress and have a negative effect and is going to be more difficult to maintain in the long run. Pick one of these tips at a time and try it for a couple of weeks. IF it helps you keep going and then add another small change.
What Happens When You Don't Get Enough Sleep?
You may be wondering "Is 5 hours of sleep enough or should I sleep more than that?" Not getting enough sleep can lead to serious health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. It also affects your ability to perform at work and school. We will feel groggy and tired when we wake up in the morning after a poor night's sleep. Our memory will be affected as our brain cannot store and formulate new information and ideas. We won't have the energy to get through our daily tasks, let alone hit the gym for a good workout. We might suffer extreme hunger pains and end up binging on foods that aren't healthy for us. Plus, our muscles won't be repaired properly. This means that you could be sorer after a workout, and it will take significantly longer for your muscles to heal. It also means that it will take much longer to see the results of your hard work. Losing weight and making gains will be much more difficult.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to sleep. There are many ongoing debates about the exact amount of sleep required for optimum health. However, The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults. The amount of sleep needed will also change based on how you feel during the day. If you wake up feeling groggy, try going to bed earlier. If you wake up feeling refreshed, you might want to go to bed later.
Sleep Can Help You Succeed
There is a lot of information out there, especially if you are looking for weight loss tips. You may find various content on the greatest foods for belly-fat loss or the best diets for muscle growth. However, if you are looking to remove those last few pounds of body fat that seem to cling to you for dear life, sleep may be the answer you are looking for.
It's crucial to pay attention to a few additional aspects that could affect the kind of development you make. One particular aspect that is frequently ignored is sleep. Since you are hardly conscious when you sleep, nobody ever considers sleep as a factor in success. There are some factors about sleep that you should consider if you want to lose weight and be healthier.
Daytime cortisol levels are higher: An elevated daytime cortisol level is one of the first significant issues connected to sleep deprivation. Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted in the body that works to break down body tissues. Since the body is preparing for the fight-or-flight response mechanism during stressful situations, cortisol levels will be very high.
Dieting and rigorous workout routines put the body under stress during weight loss. You are consuming fewer calories than your body prefers to have for proper function, which puts you at risk for muscle loss (which happens when high cortisol levels start destroying the body's structures).
Some research is finding that sleep-deprived people have greater cortisol levels in the afternoon and early evening than those who aren't.
Poor Glucose Control: Have you ever noticed that you craved carbohydrates the day after a late night out or after a night of poor sleep? Chronic sleep deprivation alters our hormones and rate of metabolism, leading to increased hunger and appetite in particular.
When we are exhausted, our body senses this exhaustion and believes there we are short on energy, which causes internal impulses to eat to begin.
Sleep deprivation can lower glucose and insulin sensitivity, two of the most essential elements in developing or preventing diabetes and controlling how full you feel after eating. Even though you might not think staying up an extra hour to watch your favorite TV show is all that bad, the truth is that it could significantly raise your risk of gaining weight and developing diabetes.
Increased Visceral Fat Levels: Visceral fat is the type of fat that puts your overall health at the greatest risk. While subcutaneous fat growth may be easier to notice (since this is the fat that is directly beneath the skin), a high level of fat around the organs is going to be much more harmful and may eventually be fatal.
Studies have shown that people who don't get an adequate amount of sleep regularly have higher visceral fat levels and are at greater risk for serious disease.
Decreased Performance at the Gym: Don't ignore the link between your workout performance and the amount of sleep you get. It can be challenging to smash out a session at the gym when you are sleep-deprived. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do to prevent overtraining syndrome, which will quickly keep you from your workouts and stop future fat loss. If you don't ensure you get consistent rest, you could have to take time away from your program, which will slow you down and hinder your progress.
How To Get A Better Night's Sleep Every Night
Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night will not only help you feel better, but it will help you look better as well. If you want to reap all of the benefits that good sleep can give, try out these helpful tips:
Establish a Bedtime Routine: Your body will start to get ready for sleep at the same time each night if you have a regular bedtime and evening routine. Melatonin levels will increase, your heart rate will slow, and you will be calmer and ready to shut down and relax.
Avoid Unnatural Light: TVs, cell phones, and bright interior lights all emit artificial light that may interfere with melatonin production. At least an hour before turning in for the night, stay away from these lights and gadgets.
Reduce Stress: Stress from our daily lives can leave our minds racing, causing us to toss and turn in bed. Yoga, meditation, and tai chi are exercises that can help us relax and fall asleep more quickly.
Control The Temperature In Your Bedroom: It is hard to fall asleep if you are too hot. Use fans or air conditioning to keep your bedroom slightly cooler than the rest of your house. This will promote a good night’s sleep.
Nothing compares to tucking ourselves into bed at night, closing our eyes, and falling asleep. Unfortunately, sleep does not come naturally to many of us. More than 70 million people in North America alone experience some form of sleep disturbance. Any difficulty sleeping may be very dangerous to our health and wellness and can lead to issues that affect us throughout the rest of the day. Not only will we feel tired and run down, but we could also end up sabotaging our diets, gaining weight, and not seeing the gains that we have worked so hard to achieve.
At Clean Eatz Kitchen, we know the importance of a good night's sleep. We also know how reducing your stress levels during the day can help you rest better at night. By helping you keep fresh and nutritious meals on hand, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time in the bedroom! If you are looking for an easy way to eat healthily, Clean Eatz Kitchen can help. You can build your own meal plan delivery with us and place an order in a minute!
Sleep is a fundamental pillar of overall health and wellness. While commonly associated with rest, sleep involves crucial bodily processes, affecting hormone balance, appetite regulation, and glucose metabolism. Neglecting adequate sleep can result in various health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and cognitive impairment. Striving for quality sleep is an essential investment in well-being and can positively impact fitness, weight management, and overall productivity.
How does sleep impact weight loss and fitness?
Sleep plays a significant role in weight loss and fitness. Poor sleep can disrupt hormone regulation, leading to increased hunger and cravings for unhealthy foods. It can also hinder muscle recovery and growth, making it more challenging to see the desired results from exercise.
What are the consequences of elevated cortisol levels due to sleep deprivation?
Elevated cortisol levels, caused by sleep deprivation, can lead to muscle breakdown and hinder progress in fitness goals. Cortisol is a hormone that breaks down body tissues and can contribute to muscle loss. This can be detrimental, especially for individuals aiming to build muscle or lose weight.
How does sleep affect glucose control and the risk of diabetes?
Sleep deprivation can negatively impact glucose control and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. It can lead to insulin resistance, making it harder for the body to regulate blood sugar levels effectively. This can ultimately contribute to the development of diabetes.
What's the connection between sleep and exercise performance?
Sleep is essential for optimal exercise performance. Inadequate sleep can lead to reduced energy levels, decreased motivation, and impaired recovery. It increases the risk of overtraining syndrome, which can disrupt workout routines and hinder fitness progress.
7 minute read
5 minute read
8 minute read