Sleep is something we (or mainly my wife:) have struggled with over the last two months since we had the new baby boy enter the world. Although this reason for not getting enough quality sleep is different than why others may be lacking, the results are still the same.
Not getting good, quality sleep each night WILL have a negative impact on your overall health. No matter how good your nutrition and training regimen seem to be!
Are you trying to lose some fat?
Are you trying to get stronger?
Are you trying to focus more?
Get more work done?
If you answered YES to any or all of these, then I suggest you make sleep a priority and not just something that just happens when the sun goes down.
So why do people not get enough sleep?
Maybe it’s surfing the internet. Watching tv. Working late into the night. Studying.
Whatever the reason may be, a lack of sleep usually reflects our priorities rather than our constraints.
So what does science say about sleep deprivation?
People that sleep six or less hours a night are more likely to be obese. There could be numerous reasons for this but one that stuck out to me was, the more time we are awake, the more time we have to eat. Makes sense, right?
According to THIS article from Precision Nutrition, “Another study found that those who slept just 4 hours, 2 nights in a row, resulted in lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin. As low leptin and high ghrelin both stimulate hunger and appetite, the men reported higher overall hunger ratings, especially cravings for energy dense, processed foods like sweets, baked goods and bread.”
And that was just after TWO nights of sleep deprivation. Some people go a lot longer than that!
In the book Essentialism, the author talks about how having several nights of little sleep put people in a state similar to being intoxicated.
I know I have felt that way a few times over the last several months!
How do you function at a high level in that state??
Although it has been shown that sleep can be “made up” if you fall behind, going through a constant cycle of this can and will effect your long-term health. It’s similar to eating really well for a short time and then eating like crap for a time. It just doesn’t work!
So what are some “Rules” you can follow to make sure you are getting the sleep your body needs?
According to Craig Ballantyne, you should remember this series of numbers: 10-3-2-1
10 hours before bed –> No more caffeine.
3 hours before bed –> No more food or alcohol.
2 hours before bed –> No more work.
1 hour before bed –> No more screen time (turn off all phones, TVs and computers).
Make sleep a priority!
- Set a sleep schedule. “One of the easiest ways to guarantee that you have this energy every day is to stick to a regular wake up time (at the very least) and bedtime (when possible).”-Craig Ballantyne
- Start a nighttime routine. Remember it starts 10 hours prior to actually going to bed^^^
- Sleep 7-9 hours each night
There are tons of other articles out there that may go into greater detail regarding sleep. My go to is always Precision Nutrition though. THIS infographic has some great tips and ideas you should consider if your sleep is lacking!
What has worked best for me is having a set sleep schedule. I am in bed by 10pm and my alarm goes off at 5am.
This allows me to plan other things around sleep. It’s a priority.
Find a schedule that works for you. Try out some of these tips
You will feel more energized. Have more clarity. And get closer to the body you want!