According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 70% of Americans report insufficient sleep at least one night per month and 11% have insufficient sleep every night . It is estimated that sleep-related problems affect 50 to 70 million people by the National Institutes of Health .
It’s abundantly clear that we are a sleep-deprived nation and only getting worse. But, what are the consequences to our health and well-being? And what are some signs that we can address to improve our sleep habits, get better quality sleep, and improve our health outcomes?
Sleep deprivation consequences
The consequences of sleep deprivation are far and wide. Several studies cite cardiovascular disease problems, diabetes risk, obesity, and worsened immune function as common outcomes. But one 2015 study in the International Journal of Endocrinology, however, found that lack of sleep supported an increased susceptibility to hormonal problems . Hormonal imbalances can be quite problematic regarding your training, nutrition, and motivational levels as well as your ability to build muscle and get stronger.
So, how do we fix this? First, let’s break down a few signs to look for and then we’ll list a few fixes so that you can finally get consistent, quality sleep.
- Poor focus
Do you find yourself with difficulty focusing? Is it increasingly harder to be in the present and concentrate on school, work, or family as the day moves along? If you’re finding it more challenging to focus and are easily distracted, you’re in a sleep-deprived state. A restful night’s sleep should leave you with the ability to take on tasks, hit your goals, and possess the endurance to manage your schedule without much stress.
- Lack of energy
Do you drag throughout your day? Are you lacking any real energy to get things done and always thinking about the sleep you missed? It’s no coincidence that your lack of sleep is affecting your ability to muster the energy just to get on with your day, much less hit benchmarks, new personal records, or take on new challenges.
- Over reliance on caffeine
We’ve all seen those busy-types running around with their coffee in hand morning, noon, and night. It seems that they are attempting to chase off sleep in hopes to somehow “hack” sleep deprivation. If you’re the type who “must” have coffee at all hours of the day then something’s got to give. A little caffeine to jumpstart your day is fine, but an over reliance will only perpetuate your problems.
- Morning procrastination
We’ve all had times in our mornings where we simply don’t want to get up, we roll over, press snooze, and feel all warm and cozy in our beds. But if this is you each and every morning, procrastinating getting up, and constantly running late half asleep then more quality sleep should be the goal. Not playing the game of seeing if you can beat the clock every morning.
When we are sleep deprived we tend to develop other behaviors to help compensate. Many of us will resort to overeating. In fact a study in Psychoendocrinology concluded that young men who were sleep deprived ate more calories and had poorer food choices . If you find yourself mindlessly eating and making some less than desirable food choices then you could be suffering from a lack of sleep.
So, if you’re still here then you know that you’re sleep deprived. In fact, I bet if you ask anyone, very few will actually state that they get adequate sleep since most of us feel one, two of all of these signs.
The simple solution is to get more sleep. It’s a no-brainer, really, but how exactly can we do that? What are some of the best practices to get us in a better habit of quality sleep so we can find better focus, hit our goals with more energy, and be more productive?
Let’s look at a few things we can implement immediately to get there.
- Establish a nighttime routine
If you’re serious about getting more sleep then you’ll need to formulate a nighttime routine. This isn’t some elaborate, detailed plan requiring us to map out every step. It’s just a few steps to follow to give your mind the signals it needs to let it know that sleep is on its way. Maybe you brush and floss, read a real book, or meditate at a specific time at night. The more structured it is and the closer you adhere to your schedule, the more your body will start to recognize what’s going on and fall inline with your new sleep schedule.
- Ditch the phone
This is a tough one for many out there looking for better sleep. It’s well known now that the light emitted from our electronic devices keeps us awake. It tricks us into thinking it’s still daytime and will resist relaxing and eventually sleeping. Put the phone in another room, invest in a good ole-fashioned alarm clock, and establish a solid quitting time to put away your phone which is ideally two hours before you plan to go to bed. Also, avoid getting on your phone first thing upon waking, it will only keep you in bed longer.
- No more caffeine afternoons
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine caffeine has a half-life of up to five hours. What that means is if you ingested 20 mg of caffeine, five hours later you’ll still have 10 mg in your body. If you’re an afternoon coffee or pre-workout drinker you’ll still have a significant amount of caffeine flowing through your veins. If you’re wanting to leave no stone unturned on your quest for better sleep, curtailing caffeine from the afternoon on is a must. You don’t want any type of stimulant in your system when you’re trying to relax. Ditch the caffeine after a certain time after noon to help your body to wind down at night.
- Stop training so late
Training is essential if you want to lead a healthy life. Coupled with proper nutrition they benefit us not only by looking and feeling better, but also improving our quality of life. But training too close to bedtime can ramp up your heart rate and keep your endorphins flying high preventing you from calming down and entering into restful sleep. If you prefer to train in the PM, be sure to avoid too much activity several hours before you decide to go to bed. If you find your schedule doesn’t permit such a time, try getting up earlier in the morning for a workout session.
- Turn in when you’re tired
Lastly, we tend to fight sleep as it gets later. Whether it’s because we want to watch our favorite show or stay up and scroll through our phones. We incessantly yawn and refuse to succumb to the signs that we need rest. When you’re tired and feel like your body is shutting down, simply turn in. Don’t fight what your body is telling you, especially if you’re trying to establish new sleep habits and routines. Over time, your body will start to fall in line with the routine you’re trying to establish and will get on track to a healthy habit of quality sleep.
Sleep deprivation isn’t some impossible puzzle to figure out. All you need is a plan of action, some self-discipline, and the willingness to improve your habits. Establish a routine, ditch the phone at night, curtail the caffeine, stop training so late, and simply go to bed when you’re tired. Follow these simple rules and you’ll be well on your way to more, quality sleep.
If you’re not sleeping well, you’re going to live a degraded life.
How long you sleep and the quality of that sleep is one of the most important aspects of your health and vitality.
This is only made worse by modern technology like lighting, blue light from your computer, phone, and tablet screens as well as your TV.
This lack of quality sleep depletes who you are and how you perform.
It robs you of energy and drive and over time it WILL lead to a subpar life.
If you want to get better quality, longer, deeper sleep, look to nature for help.
Man Sleep contains all natural ingredients to help you achieve a higher quality of sleep so you can perform at your best.
Help increase the total sleep time
Reduce the time it takes to fall asleep
Help in energy metabolism
Improve energy levels
Enhance muscle recovery
You’ll have more energy, a greater ability to focus, and faster recovery all because you’ll sleep better.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Perceived Insufficient Rest or Sleep Among Adults—United States, 2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 58:1179
- National Institutes of Health. National Institutes of Health Sleep Disorders Research Plan.
- Kim, T. W., Jeong, J. H., & Hong, S. C. (2015). The impact of sleep and circadian disturbance on hormones and metabolism. International journal of endocrinology, 2015, 591729.
- Hogenkamp, P. S., Nilsson, E., Nilsson, V. C., Chapman, C. D., Vogel, H., Lundberg, L. S., ... & Schiöth, H. B. (2013). Acute sleep deprivation increases portion size and affects food choice in young men. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38(9), 1668-1674.