How Sleep Affects Your Health

How Sleep Affects Your Health

Sleep is one of our 4 pillars of health because it impacts your immune system, body composition, mental health, performance and ultimately how you function on a daily basis. Your sleep plays a huge role in regulating your hormones, inflammation levels, and so much more! We would be doing you a disservice if we didn’t try to educate you, our clients, about how this area of your life has a profound impact on all other areas.


What we have realized over the years is that some of the most effective tools to improve our health, wellness and performance are free. If protecting and optimizing your health is important to improving your quality of life, there are plenty of things you can do that won’t cost you a thing!


While we are living in a time where people pay more attention to healthy living and habits and its role in a healthy immune system, the media leads us to believe that quick fixes are our best bet. But, if you want to better protect your health, quality restorative sleep is a must.


Sleep is a powerful tool that often gets overlooked when it comes to reaching goals in and out of the gym. We’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that sleep is a waste of time and it’s better to work more and sleep less. This idea could not be further from the truth. We have to start looking at the importance of quality sleep and how we can improve in this area of our health. 


We understand that it can be difficult to change things that you are not aware of, so our goal is to shed some light on how sleep impacts your body as we provide simple tasks that you can start today in order to give yourself a better chance at a long and healthy life!


Decrease in Attention and Working Memory

While it varies between individuals, people typically need around 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to avoid the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance and working memory. According to studies on chronic partial sleep restriction, one can clearly see how getting less sleep every night (even by just a few hours) can have an impact on how fast tasks are completed, as well as how accurately they are performed. Additionally, studies show that sleep deprivation can have an impact on everything from visuomotor performance to spatial attention, for example, driving a car or playing a game with hand-eye coordination.


Insufficient Sleep Associated with Weight Gain 

Insufficient sleep affects our cardiovascular health and is commonly associated with inflammation, diabetes, obesity, and weight gain. Studies show that insufficient sleep has an effect on energy expenditure, and can also impact the Ghrelin hormone (which promotes storing of fat and stimulates your appetite). The effect of sleep deprivation on appetite can lead to an increased food intake and a decrease in energy expenditure, which impacts how much physical activity one performs. Additionally, studies showed how those who were at an average weight had better sleep quality and efficiency than those who were obese. Studies suggested that the combination of improved sleep hygiene with a healthy diet had a positive impact on weight management. 


Increased Stress Due to Sleep Deprivation

Studies show that there are interlinked mechanisms between sleep deprivation and stress. Research shows that when one is awake for extended hours that go beyond what is normal in everyday life, a certain degree of stress is noted. Research suggests that disturbed sleep (such as less than four hours a night for a consecutive 6 days) can impact the recovery of the cortisol response and decrease the morning cortisol awaking response, impacting your brain’s ability to control stress.  Essentially, good sleep helps to “clear your brain of waste” and enhance daily stress resistance. Bear in mind that studies showed that the quality of sleep when it comes to stress-management was much more important than the hours spent sleeping. 


Sleep Deprivation Associated With Inflammatory Disease 

According to in-depth studies related to sleep disturbance and the risk of inflammatory disease, research shows that chronic insomnia has a substantial impact on health, especially when it comes to things like hypertension, weight gain (specifically in the elderly), and Diabetes Type 2. In fact, there is evidence of treatment for insomnia helping to decrease inflammation in individuals, which is why many professionals state that the key to healthy living is a combination of a healthy diet, physical activity, as well as “healthy” sleep. 


Insufficient Sleep Affects Your Mood

Have you ever woken up grumpy for seemingly no reason? There could be a scientific reason why. Many studies indicate that insomnia or poor sleep hygiene can be a defining factor in individuals’ recurrent depression and negative moods. Interestingly, research also indicated that sleep continuity disruption has more of a negative impact on positive moods than simply getting to bed a bit later than usual. 


5 Tips For Better Sleep:

  1. Expose yourself to morning sunlight
  2. Limit artificial light at night
  3. Stick to a consistent sleep and wake cycle
  4. Keep your bedroom cool and dark
  5. Limit caffeine, especially after 1-2pm

How Is Your Sleep Hygiene? 

Sleep influences your daily life more than you may realize. We hope that by uncovering some of the ways sleep affects your body, you can begin to value sleep quality more and work towards better sleep hygiene. If you’d like to learn more about how sleep is linked to immune health, lifespan, motor skills, and more, feel free to schedule a mentor call with us at https://thedurableathlete.com/products/mentorship-call .

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