So how important is sleep anyways? If I can do all the tasks during a given day and meet all my requirements for school and work then I must be ok, right? Well, no actually.
The truth is that your sleep, good or bad, either enhances your health and performance or deteriorates it. Here's how.
The average person needs about 8 hours of sleep a night. By this I am referring to adults. Teens, infants and those who are recovering from illness or post-op may require more but this is the average.
When you ask most people how many hours of sleep they get in a night they will count starting with the hour they first enter the bedroom. They do not count the time spent brushing their teeth, reading, watching tv, talking to their spouse or anything else done before bed. As well, if they wake up during the night they forget to subtract this time from their total. Sure it's not a lot of time we're talking about here but it's obviously not time spent asleep and there provides an over-estimate of how much sleep we're getting.
So before we even correct for this over-estimation in the total amount of sleep we're getting the answers people give include the following:
- '5 or 6 hours'
- '7 hours, on a good night'
- 'less than 6'
- 'not sure'
The point is that most people don't get enough sleep.
Not here's where it gets interesting. When we are sleep deprived some of our hormones are thrown out of whack. For example their is a hormone that serves as an appetite suppressant which is reduced when we are sleep deprived. As well, another hormone tells us when we are hungry. And guess what? When are sleep deprived this hormone is increased causing you to feel hungrier than you really are.
Unfortunately it doesn't end there. There are a number of other hormones that play a role in sleep, obesity and appetite. Those that are participating in the Year Long Training Program will receive a copy of a report I produced identifying what these hormones are, to what degree of sleep deprivation will impact you negatively, a suggested sleep supplement and some tips for better sleep. I may have some extra copies for anyone else that is interested is reading about Sleep and Weight Loss.
There is an expression that you can't train yourself out of a bad diet. This just means you can't simply add in extra, more intense workouts to make up for poor nutrition choices. I think the expression should be expanded even further. It should go something like this. 'You can't eat and train yourself out of deficient sleep'.
As a colleague likes to say 'the prescription is simple but not easy'. Getting 8 hours of sleep is fairly simple. Adjusting our lives and routines to make this a reality is not easy.
All the best,
okanaganpeakperformance.com 'always moving forward'