Sleep is our superpower. Our bodies not only want sleep, they require it.
Sleep is essential in order to restore & rejuvenate organ systems, help repair & grow muscles, repair tissue & to synthesise hormones.
One of the main reasons our health deteriorates so quickly is that human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent reason. Wee cannot catch up on sleep, it's not like the bank, Wee cannot accumulate a debt & hope to pay it off at a later point in time.
That means, that Mother Nature, throughout the course of evolution, has never had to face the challenges of this thing called Sleep Deprivation.
Mother Nature has never had to developed a safety net & that’s why when you ‘Under Sleep’, things can implode so quickly in the brain & the body.
Men who routinely sleep just 4-5 hours a night will have a level of testosterone equivalent to a man 10 years their senior.
A lack of sleep will age a man a decade in terms of that critical aspect of wellness.
The equivalent is the same for female reproductive health.
Women are more likely to to report sleep problems, or not getting enough sleep according to National Sleep Foundation.
It can be a vicious cycle.
One of the main culprits for poor sleep cycles in women is hormone changes. Changes in hormones wreak havoc on quality of sleep, but just to make matters worse...poor sleep affects hormone level, especially during menstrual cycles, during & after pregnancy & especially around menopause.
There is a global experiment performed on 1.6 billion people across 70 countries twice a year...it’s called Daylight Savings.
In the spring, when Wee lose one hour of sleep, Wee see a subsequent 24% increase in heart attacks that following day. (Yes, you read that correctly...)
In the autumn, when Wee gain one hour of sleep, Wee see a 21% reduction in heart attacks.
Pretty incredible data.
What Can Wee Do?
Sleep, unfortunately, is not an optional lifestyle luxury, sleep is a non-negotiable, biological necessity.
If you have trouble sleeping, tips for better sleep include:
Regularity - Going to bed at the same time each night & waking up at the same time each morning
No blue light - Blue light is emitted from screens, your phone, tablet & TV. This type of light can delay the release of melatonin the hormone responsible for inducing sleep. It is best to avoid blue light 2-3 hours before bed.
Keep it cool - Your body needs to drop its temperature by 2-3°F to initiate sleep & to stay asleep. This is the reason it is always easier to fall asleep in a cool room rather than a hot room
Get up - If you lie tossing & turning unable to fall asleep, get up & go do something in another room for a short period. Your bed should be primarily associated with sleep & not restfulness. You wouldn’t sit at the dinner table waiting to get hungry would you?
Prioritise your sleep, it’s our built in Swiss Army Knife of health.
For more, check out Matt Walker's Ted Talk called - Sleep Is Your Superpower.
By Calum Napier