When was the last time you woke up feeling refreshed and not needing caffeine?
You will not be surprised to hear you are not alone: half of all people get less than the recommended 8 hours a night sleep, and a third of all people get less than six hours.
How lack of sleep impacts your body
Sleep is important for many vital components for human health and wellbeing. It plays a massive part in cognitive function, learning and memory and has been linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also vital for healthy function of the immune system.
Does lack of sleep leave you craving unhealthy foods? Fatigue affects your food choice, sometimes leading to cravings and a desire to eat more due to the effects of two powerful hormones that affect hunger and satiety.
One of the other consequences of not getting enough sleep is difficulty in concentrating and making decisions and lack of motivation to do physical activity.
So, how can you improve your sleep?
Firstly, lack of sleep is subjective. It is your perception of whether you are receiving enough sleep. Unfortunately, sleep does not work like a bank balance: we cannot accrue a sleep debt and it cannot be repaid.
One clear way to help improve sleep and sleep quality is to reduce your screen time before bed. The blue light of your TV and phone can disrupt your body’s natural clock and make you feel more alert, which makes it even harder to fall asleep. Take some time out from your screens before you go to bed – replace it with a good book, audiobook or podcast.
Training in the afternoon or after work can also send a rush of endorphins and adrenaline to your brain and give you a second wind of energy, which can in turn make it difficult to sleep later on. To avoid this, you must make sure you allow enough time for a full cool-down, which will bring your heart rate back to resting and ensure a good night’s sleep.
If you get to bed and struggle to sleep, perhaps getting restless and anxious, do not stay in bed. Get up, but don’t put the lights on. Instead, do something that reinforces your bedtime routine: brush your teeth again or make a warm, non-caffeinated herbal tea. Staying in bed but not being able to sleep will just compound the problem and reinforce a negative association with bed and being awake.
Our trainers here at Northern Bootcamp can educate you on all aspects of gaining a healthy lifestyle including fitness, nutrition and sleep. Get in touch to learn how we can help.
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