How to recover better Part II –SLEEP!!!

Today i have covered sleep and how it effects your sleep 

If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning, you already know how you’ll feel the next day some of them are probably tired, cranky, and out of sorts. But missing out on the recommended 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye nightly does more than make you feel groggy and grumpy. The long term effects of sleep deprivation are real. It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at real risk. Science has linked poor slumber with all kinds of health problems, from weight gain to a weakened immune system.

Your body needs sleep, just as it needs oxygen and nutritious food to function at its best. During sleep, your body recovers and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new connections and helps memory retention. Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function normally. It can also dramatically lower your quality of life. Some studies have found that sleeping for less than 6 to 8 hours a night increases the risk of early death by as much as 12%

The obvious signs of sleep deprivation are:

  • excessive sleepiness
  • yawning
  • irritability
  • daytime fatigue

Stimulants like caffeine aren’t enough to override your body’s profound need for sleep. Behind the scenes, chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with your body’s internal systems and cause more than just the initial signs and symptoms listed above.

The effects of Poor sleep on certain vital systems

  1. Central nervous system

Your central nervous system is the information highway of your body. Sleep is necessary to keep it functioning properly. Chronic insomnia can disrupt how your body sends and receives information.

During sleep, your body forms pathway’s between nerve cells (neurons) and your brain, from things you may have learnt during the day. This is how we remember new information. Sleep deprivation leaves your brain exhausted, so it can’t perform at its peak. This then has an on flow effects to poor concentration, with poor concentration we the start having trouble learning new things.

Sleep deprivation also negatively affects your mental abilities and emotional state. You may feel more impatient or be more prone to mood swings.

There has been cases where sleep deprivation has got so bad that people have had hallucinations.

Other psychological risks include:

  • impulsive behavior
  • depression
  • paranoia
  • suicidal thoughts

2) The Immune system

While you sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like cytokines. It uses these substances to combat foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Cytokines also help you sleep, giving your immune system more energy to defend your body against illness.

Sleep deprivation prevents your immune system from building up its forces. It may also take you longer to recover from illness. Long-term sleep deprivation also increases your risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

3) Respiratory system

The relationship between sleep and the respiratory system goes both ways. A night time breathing disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can interrupt your sleep and lower the quality of your sleep. As you wake up throughout the night, this can cause sleep deprivation, which leaves you more vulnerable to respiratory infections like the common cold and flu. Sleep deprivation can also make existing respiratory diseases worse, such as chronic lung illness.

4) Digestive system

Along with eating too much and not exercising, sleep deprivation is another risk factor for becoming overweight and obesity. Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness.

Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones could explain night time snacking or why someone may over eat later in night. A lack of sleep can also contribute to weight gain by making you feel too tired to exercise.

Sleep deprivation also prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat. Insulin controls your blood sugar level. Higher insulin levels promote fat storage and increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.

5) Cardiovascular system

Sleep affects processes that keep your heart and blood vessels healthy, including your blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation levels. It also plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and repair the blood vessels and heart.

Studies have linked People who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease as well as an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

6) Endocrine system

Hormone production is dependent on your sleep. For testosterone production, you need at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep, which is about the time of your first REM episode. This interruption can also affect growth hormone production, especially in children and adolescents. These hormones help build muscle mass and repair cells and tissues. The pituitary gland releases growth hormones continuously, but sleep and exercise also help induce the release of this hormone.

With all the above info covered on specific effect on each of the main systems in the body, hopefully you have a good background on how sleep effects your recovery.

Now we can go into the ways to improve sleep patterns!!

Getting a good night’s rest can be difficult. As we know from what we have covered from this point, Insufficient sleep raises your risk of accidental injury and many chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and depression.

Getting the rest you need may require some changes. I believe it’s important to develop habits that promote good health and eliminate those that keep you up at night. Here are some tips to help you improve your sleep and prepare the perfect environment to catch some Zzz’s and improve your results.

1) Establish a routine

A consistent sleep schedule is a critical part of developing good sleep patterns. Frequently changing the times you go to bed and wake up confuses your body’s biological clock. Following a regular schedule, even on weekends and holidays. Doing this can improve your quality of your sleep as well as help you get the rest you need to perfume at your peak.

Some ideas to help this is to prepare your mind and body for sleep by developing a relaxing bedtime routine.

For example, take a warm shower/bath, listen to soothing music, read a book. This will signal to your body that bedtime is coming and help you fall asleep more quickly and easily.

2) Keep electronics out of your bed

Try to separate your bedroom from other facets of your life that may cause stress, tension, or stimulation. The presence of electronic devices such as laptops computers and phones can make it harder to fall asleep.

The blue light from glowing electronic screens suppresses your body’s production of melatonin, an important hormone for sleep. If you tend to associate your bed with activities other than sleep or sex, that can also make it harder to calm your mind and drift off.

Things to Avoid:

Watching television, using your computer, or checking your phone in bed. You should also avoid working, eating, or even having a heated discussion with your significant other in your sleeping environment. Strengthening the association between your bed and sleep may help you clear your mind at bedtime.

3) Mind what you drink

What you drink in the hours before bedtime can make or break your ability to fall asleep. Caffeine and alcohol are two common sleep disrupting culprits.

Caffeine is a stimulant that can keep you awake. According to many studies, the effects of caffeine can take six to eight hours to wear off. So avoid drinking caffeinated beverages, such as coffee or soda, in the late afternoon or evening.

Alcohol is a sedative that can make you tired, but it also disrupts the quality of your sleep. It can result in lighter and less restorative stages of sleep, which can leave you feeling groggy the next morning. The suggestions I found was to avoid drinking alcohol within three hours of bedtime.

For a positive effect on your sleep patterns, try drinking a small cup of something with a calming effect before bed, such as hot herbal tea or milk (Remember no caffeine ideally). Drinking too much of any liquid before bed may lead to bathroom trips during the night, which will also disrupt your sleep.

Using these tips above is some of the things i suggest for all of my clients to try and do.

They are not the only things to do.

In Part III of how to recover better i will cover training volume and it effect on recovery.

See you next week


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