We all know sleep is important, but a night of restlessness really can wreak havoc on us in ways we don’t even consider.
Good sleep is necessary for optimal health and can affect hormone levels, mood and weight. Lack of sleep will decrease your energy levels by reducing your testosterone levels and lower your glycogen storage, which is your body’s way of storing energy. According to a Sandford Report, lack of sleep can impact your reaction time and much as alcohol. It also impairs your reaction time and lowers your HGH hormone levels— vital factors for restoring, repairing and rebuilding your muscle tissue.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU NEED?
While it differs from person to person, healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Nine to ten hours are suggested for adolescents and teens. You can estimate your own needs by experimenting over a few weeks. If you fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed and wake up without an alarm, you are probably getting the right amount of sleep. If you fall asleep immediately upon hitting the pillow and always need an alarm to wake up, you are probably sleep deprived. Get more sleep if you feel tired or irritable during the day.
You can also track your sleep patterns through the innovations in wearable technology. Sleep tracking technology can yield a lot of answers to questions such as:
- How many hours do I sleep each night?
- How long does it take for me to fall asleep?
- Do I sleep peacefully or am I a restless sleeper?
- Am I getting enough deep sleep, light sleep or REM?
If you’re serious about improving your health and well-being, this information can be invaluable.
The good news for most athletes is that just one sleepless night is not necessarily associated with any negative effects on performance. So, don't worry if you toss and turn the week before a big marathon — one sleepless night is unlikely to hurt your productivity.
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD SLEEP HABITS?
- Sleep in a quiet and dark room to ensure comfort. You may want to consider ear plugs or blackout curtains if you are particularly sensitive
- Avoid electrical screens for an hour before bed. The blue light exposure reduces melatonin release which causes an increase time to fall asleep
- Avoid stimulating activity before bed. Have a pre-bed routine that gives you the opportunity to wind down after your day
- Limit caffeine and alcohol as it may increase the time it takes you to fall asleep
- Avoid large meals and excessive fluid before bedtime
Take daily naps if you can’t get enough sleep each night
- Have a regular sleep and wake time to develop a strong circadian rhythm
- Control your stress and anxiety through yoga, meditation or journal writing
While there’s no such thing as a magical healing night of sleep that instantly reverses all the negative effects of routine sleep deprivation, a single night of quality downtime will definitely show you how much your body appreciates when you treat it with the care, consideration, and respect it needs. Minimizing these common sleep distractions can help maximize your sleep and your performance.
If you have trouble falling asleep or a pattern of waking up, you may have a sleep disorder. Meet with a sleep medicine specialist to get help managing your sleep issue. For more information about sleep, please visit the National Sleep Foundation.