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The Science Behind the Importance of Sleep and Creating a Routine

The importance of sleep is a topic we need to discuss. Think about it: Everyone is tired all the time and Starbucks is making a fortune on it. I personally can’t start my day without my one cup of coffee. People are sleeping on morning commutes on trains or busses constantly. I noticed my wife, who sat down for “just a minute,” dozed off because of her hectic day with the kids going to a birthday party and running errands. We’re all guilty of not making rest a priority, and we need to change this mindset.

Sleep Deprivation Education is the topic this month –so let’s go!

American Sleep Association defines sleep deprivation as “the cumulative effect of a person not having sufficient sleep.” This means you are sleep-deprived if you don’t get enough sleep. So when you think about consistently only getting 5-6 hours a night, that’s not sufficient. Despite this fact, some people brag about surviving on very little sleep. Keep in mind there is no “perfect amount of sleep” some people function fine on seven hours, and some need nine or more per night. Everyone is different, but the recommendation falls around eight hours for most.

According to Dr. Matthew Walker, Sleep Expert and Neuroscientist: “Once you get below seven, there are measurable impairments in the brain…”

Read that again. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your brain doesn’t have time to do what it needs to function normally. It needs time to heal and make repairs. You’re also more at risk for injury. For example, Dr. Walker said, “there’s a 60% increase in the probability of injury comparing people who get 9 hours of sleep a night to those who get 5. Your stability muscles fail earlier when not getting enough sleep.”

Sleep is vital to muscle recovery and growth; it helps repair and build upon the micro-tears created in your muscles after heavy lifting. Getting enough sleep ensures that your muscles are making a full recovery so that the next time you hit the weights, they are ready to go harder and heavier. 60-70% of daily human growth hormone (HGH) is released during sleep. Low-quality sleep does not allow the body to release and circulate HGH optimally.

Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule is a good start to ensure you get sufficient rest.

Having a sleep routine every night, like reducing screen time, stretching, taking 15 minutes to sit in reflection, or even reading a chapter in that book on your nightstand, all make for good habits to incorporate into your sleep routine. Define what that routine looks like and begin the process of building consistency in your evening ritual. Practice good sleep hygiene and consider communicating any serious sleep issues to your doctor if you need medical assistance. Next time you’re streaming your favorite show, and you are trying to decide on watching one more episode or crashing a little early, put down the remote and consider making sleep the priority. You’ll essentially improve your performance in every area of your life. Remember the importance of sleep is critical to your wealth of good health.

May 2022

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