How important is sleep?

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We’ve had a few people ask us the last week about nutrition and how they can start eating better so they can feel/perform better. This is a HUGE step towards improving overall health and energy across every facet of life! The first 2 questions we ask are:

  1. Do you record/track/document what you eat every day? (we will go into this in another blog)

  2. How much do you sleep?

While this 2nd question seems almost irrelevant, it is arguably the easiest and most impactful change you can make in your daily routine. Nutrition is extremely important as well, since it is the foundation of your body’s fuel, but if you aren’t getting enough sleep it is almost impossible for your body to recover— physically, hormonally, and emotionally/mentally. Sufficient rest and sleep are essential for basic function of the neurological, digestive, endocrine and immune systems— it is a part of your body’s natural rhythm! Your nutrition can be 100% effected by lack of sleep— coffee consumption and snack cravings are among the many ways your eating habits can be effected by your sleep or lack thereof. And this isn’t even getting into physical detriments like body composition and ability to recover from workouts!

Unfortunately, in today’s GO GO GO world (not to mention technology dependent), we make rest negotiable. The “I can sleep when I’m dead” mantra comes to mind, even for myself. Many of us underestimate the body’s need for sleep, especially since we’re committed to staying “busy.” Some balance more than others, whether its family, children, jobs, and additional stressors that make us feel like we have to get it ALL done in the 14-16 hours we are awake. If we learn how to properly rest, we can do less while becoming healthier, more productive, and live more fulfilling lives. Without adequate rest and sleep, we cannot be healthy. Here are some traits and side effects of sleep or no sleep:

7-8+ Hours of sleep

  • Improved memory, creativity and focus

  • decreased inflammation and healthier immune system

  • Blood sugar regulation and weight control

  • Improved physical/mental/emotional recovery and performance

  • Increased energy and overall mood

  • Reduced stress

  • Clearer, healthier skin

<5-6 hours of sleep

  • Cognitive decline, memory loss, inability to make decisions

  • Systemic inflammation and weakened immune system

  • Increased hunger and cravings, weight gain

  • Decreased physical performance

  • Negatively impacted mood and mental health

  • Inability to manage stress, impulsivity

  • Acne, breakouts

Studies show that the average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep per night, teens need nine hours and adolescents need ten hours. Consider, how much sleep are you getting? Is inconsistent and inadequate sleep hindering the quality of your life and exercise results?

Start by adding 15-30 additional minutes in bed at night. Not even asleep necessarily, but start your nights EARLIER. Start small and see what can happen. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you.