Sleep is more important then I think you could ever realise, just a short period of time with poor quality of sleep can affect you physically and mentally.
Lets start with the mental side of things:
- Sleepiness slows down your thought process. Sleep deprivation leads to lower alertness and concentration and impairs your judgement.
- Excessive sleepiness impairs memory. We need sleep to embed the thing that we have learned and experienced over the course of the day into our short term memory. Do you forget or misplace things often?
- Poor sleep makes learning difficult. This is affected in two ways your ability to focus and memory.
- Mood and mental health. Anyone with kids who gets poor sleep will know this well, you find yourselves less tolerable, angrier and may lessen your ability to deal with stress. Chronic sleepiness puts you at greater risk for depression.
4 good reasons to improve your sleep for the sake of your mental health, now for the physical affects.
- The first one on our list is weakened immunity, lack of sleep weakens your defenses against viruses like those that cause the common cold and the flu.
- Low sex drive. A lack of sleep can lower your libido. Its known in men a lack of sleep reduces testosterone levels, this doesn’t just have an effect on libido but also recovery from training which will cause fatigue being less able to train as hard as you did the session before.
- Weight Gain. The chemicals that signal to your brain you are full are off balance. As a result you’re likely to overindulge even when you’ve had enough. You are also more likely to crave bad food as comfort for being tired and moody. Check the table below for more on weight loss affects.
- CNS system fatigue. Your central nervous system is the information highway of your body, when you have been exercising this can become fatigued mostly from strength training. If you are sleep deprived then the CNS becomes fatigued, this can disrupt how your body usually sends information. Training becomes very difficult as the muscles can not receive the relevant information to perform at their best.
How can you improve your sleep:
- Do not watch tv or look at your phone 30-60mins before you go to sleep. The blue light emitted from your devices directly affects your melatonin levels. Melatonin is the hormone responsible for helping you fall asleep.
- Keep your room as dark as possible. Not too much of problem in winter time but in summer any light that breaks into your room can affect how early you will wake.
- Take magnesium, taurine or inositol with your pm meal to help the body fall into a deep sleep and improve quality of sleep.
- Stretch before bed. Stretching before bed reduces cortisol levels (stress hormone) and calms the CNS perfect for helping you to relax and fall asleep.
Now you know what effects sleep deprivation can have on your body try and implement one or two of the above solutions to help improve your sleep but also to improve your mental and physical health.