Sleep: The Secret Weapon Of A Healthy Lifestyle

By Henry Gould – April 19th, 2019

As we approach the Easter Long Weekend, I’m sure many of you are counting on sleeping in a few extra mornings. Turns out that extra time on the pillow is very, very important for our overall health, both in terms of short-term gains (rest and recovery) as well long term general health.

A lot of our media culture still glorifies lack of sleep (“The Secrets Of How CEO’s Sleep 4-5 Hours And Run Huge Companies”) despite the vast majority of research saying this is detrimental to our health. Whether one chooses to prioritize business success over personal health is a choice they are free to make, it’s worth noting what the overwhelming research on sleep has to say about human wellbeing.

10 Very Wrong, Unhealhy Assumptions About Sleep

This article summarizes 10 myths of sleep that are pervasive in western society, particularly that lack of sleep can be accustomed to, alcohol helps one go to bed easier, and that all sleep is created equal. Apparently not so!

Some highlights I found interesting:

  • Alcohol may help you fall asleep, but that’s where the benefits end, Robbins said. Instead, it traps you in the lighter stages of sleep and “dramatically reduces the quality of your rest at night.””
  • Another important stage of sleep is deep sleep, when your brain waves slow into what is called delta waves or slow-wave sleep. It’s the time when human growth hormone is released and memories are further processed.
    “The deeper stages of sleep are really important for generation of neurons, repairing muscle and restoring the immune system,” Robbins said.
  • “Come on, we all do it — or we check our laptop or smartphone before we power down for the night. Unfortunately, that sets us up for a bad night.
    “These devices emit bright blue light, and that blue light is what tells our brain to become alive and alert in the morning,” Robbins explained. “We want to avoid blue light before bed, from sources like a television or your smartphone, and do things that relax you.””

Personally I have found reduction in screen time – as well as dimming lights closer to bedtime – to be hugely beneficial for getting ready for sleep. Alcohol can also be a major sleep disruptor, both in terms of the stages of sleep you get into in addition to hydration / dehydration, which can lead to getting up and going to the bathroom thus interrupting sleep.

9 Things Every Athlete Needs To Know About Sleep And Recovery

Sleep is important for everyone, but particularly important for those of us living an active, #YardHard lifestyle that needs to be recovered from. Strenuous exercise causes micro-tears in the muscle fibers, which when recovered from allow for improved performance and muscular output.

This takes time, and sleep is a huge part of this recovery. The following article highlights why this is so important for athletes, including how sleep helps recharge your Central Nervous System (CNS), how quality can sometimes be better than quantity, and how specific sleep rituals can be an important part of your daily routine.

Sleep Expert & Neuroscientist Dr. Matthew Walker – Joe Rogan Podcast

A particularly fascinating podcast which features UC Berkeley Professor Dr. Matthew Walker talking all about sleep, and how it’s the greatest “legal performance enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting”.

Dr. Walker has a very easy to follow approach, and makes a lot of extremely compelling arguments for why sleep is so important to overall health and wellness.

YouTube Link

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