Here’s some food for thought on this vital horizontal activity.
Yes, we’re a long time dead, but we will get there a lot quicker if we do not allow our bodies the time for repair and restoration, that happens while we sleep. Like so many people, chances are, you’re not getting nearly enough of it. How often do you get a ‘good night’s sleep?’ When, if ever, do you wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day?
If you are like most people you are not getting good, regular sleep. You’re repeatedly hitting snooze, fumbling for a cup of tea, and yawning all day. You’re staying up late watching TV or you’re taking your laptop into bed.
It wasn’t always like this. For millions of years, up until about a hundred twenty years ago, humans all over the world enjoyed restorative, refreshing, regular sleep. When the sun went down, they either went to sleep or started getting ready for it. Life would wind down. Candles and fire were too costly to burn all night, every night, so nighttime meant bedtime.
Our genes evolved amongst bountiful sleep. Our genes aren’t used to artificial light, television and the Internet keeping us awake and disrupting our natural sleep patterns.
And so, when we get poor sleep or not enough of it, bad things happen:
- Our insulin sensitivity decreases even more than it already is, reducing our ability to tolerate carbs and burn fat, and making it harder to lose weight.
- We get an increased risk of depression.
- The normal secretion of hormones like testosterone (important for general health) and growth hormone (burns fat and promotes cellular restoration), which usually takes place while we sleep, is interrupted.
- It raises blood pressure and boosts the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
On the flip side, when we get enough sleep, good things happen:
- Fat melts off. Carbohydrate tolerance increases.
- Exercise performance improves. Speed, strength, recovery and response times increase.
- Your immune system works at its best, improving your resistance to viruses and infections.
- Your brain works better. Memory and problem-solving abilities improve, to name just a few.
As you see, sleep is anything but a waste of time. It’s actually essential. So always aim for around 8 hours (for most people) of quality sleep for optimum health.
Chief Exercise Officer
GO Health and Fitness