Sleep More to Lose More
The importance of sleep, why we need it, and how it will help you perform better and become the best version of yourself.
Poor sleep has immediate negative effects on your hormones, exercise performance and brain function. It can also result in weight-gain and increase disease risk in both adults and children.
If you’re goal is to optimize your health or lose weight, improving your sleep should absolutely be top of your to-do-list!
Sleep deprivation is real. 35.2% of all adults in the U.S report sleeping on average for less than seven hours per night. Almost 50% of Americans report feeling sleepy during the day between three and seven days a week.
So what is causing this?
Let’s first discuss caffeine. I realize I have targeted caffeine a lot in my blog posts but it is a real problem. 64% of American adults consume coffee every day, and not just one cup. It is estimated that the average coffee drinking American consumes 3.1 cups per day!
Why is this a problem?
Well, coffee, contains caffeine, and caffeine is a drug and unfortunately regular caffeine consumption can lead to dependency. What people don’t tell you. Caffeine itself has a half-life of 8-12hours, this simply means, if you have a cup of coffee at noon, AT LEAST 50% of that caffeine is still stimulating your brain at 8pm-12 midnight. Now lets assume you enjoy that afternoon cup of coffee at 4pm, you’ll still be wired at 4am!
Regardless of what you may think, or think you feel, the impact coffee (caffeine) has on your sleep is dramatic. That evening cup of coffee actually lowers your deep sleep by approximately 20%, and you might be thinking to yourselves, thats nothing, I can handle that. BUT deep sleep declines with age, in order to experience the same 20% decline in deep sleep, you’d have to age yourself 15 years! That’s scary!
Ways to limit your caffeine consumption
Delay your morning coffee for at least an hour after you wake up in the morning. First thing in the morning is when we should be at our most alert and awake. Soon after waking our bodies produce cortisol, a natural energy booster, so caffeine is not needed. Furthermore, at around 11am, our circadian rhythm cycle peaks, at this time, it ‘should’ be nearly impossible to fall asleep, so a coffee around this time is also not necessary!
Try to limit caffeine consumption to times when you need a functional boost, such as a long drive, or long meeting.
Pay attention to normal triggers for caffeine consumption and try to avoid that stimulus as best you can. Include friends and family on this topic and enable them to help you recognize the same triggers and support you.
Keep a daily diary of your caffeine consumption similarly to your diet so you can scale back gradually and understand the amount you’re consuming.
Caffeine isn’t our only culprit for poor sleep. But next we are going to cover how we can improve on our sleep and reclaim the energy and recovery we need and deserve on a daily basis.
Bright light exposure
Our bodies have a natural time-keeping clock known as circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm affects your brain, body and hormones enabling you to stay awake, but also letting your body know when it is time to sleep.
Getting as much natural sunlight or bright light during the day, is not just beneficial for Vitamin D, it also promotes a healthy circadian rhythm. More natural sunlight will not only improve day time energy, but