Sleep is something that in our culture has been glorified when we sacrifice it and throw it to the wind. We pride ourselves on operating on lack of sleep and on burning the midnight oil. While this has been the pulse of our society for quite some time we feel it’s time to change that tune. We think it’s important that we start valuing sleep because of the insane amount of benefits quality consistent sleep can provide you.
Sleep deprivation negatively affect hormones in your body that control your appetite regulation. Reduced levels of leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite, is found chronically in people with poor levels of sleep. This hormone can cause people to eat more as their appetite suppression is not regulated. Poor sleep habits are also correlated to negative effects on the body’s blood sugar. Stanford University conducted a study where they restricted young healthy men to four hours of sleep a night for a week and all of them showed signs of prediabetes. The negative affects of lack of sleep on our body’s hormonal systems is immense!
Another major negative affect lack of sleep can have on your body is the increase in inflammation it can cause. Inflammation is chronically linked to immunodeficiency diseases as well as many other chronic illnesses. A major contributor to increased inflammation in the body is lack of sleep. While sleeping your body repairs and rejuvenates itself. When you deprive the body of its rejuvenation period you’re predisposing it to increased inflammation and disrepair.
We cannot say enough about the negatives of depriving your body of sleep— but we can suggest a few ways to help improve your sleep patterns. Below I have listed a few practices I have begun to help improve my own sleep.
- No email checking after 9pm. Emails get me jazzed up- especially work emails. I feel like I have to respond and it gets my mind racing at a time that I should be winding my brain down. So starting at the beginning of this year I made it a rule to not check my work email after 9pm.
2. No Instagram or Pinterest after 9pm. Same principle here- those types of sites can get my brain rolling and that’s not what I need right before bedtime.
3. Be in bed by 9pm. If you’re like me falling asleep can be difficult. Starting the practice of being in bed by 9pm gives me time to wind down and fall asleep well before 10pm to get enough quality sleep.
4. Track my sleep. I personally use a WHOOP to track my sleep- but any type of sleep tracking can be informative and extremely helpful. It has given me a ton of data to help be proactive about changing my sleep practices and has shown me how beneficial good sleep can be.
5. Respecting the bad sleep days. It happens to all of us right, we just have that tough night where we don’t get sleep. I used to push through, but now since I track my sleep I can really see how those bad sleep nights can affect me. When those days happen I don’t workout. I don’t put added stress on my body when it’s already under strain. Listening to your body is essential in recovering and performing.