top of page

ShFIT Talk #16 - The Importance of Sleep

In today's modern and fast track world, people pride themselves in pulling “all nighters” and brag about functioning on only 4 hours of sleep. But sleep is at the top of the the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs! That is right up there with FOOD, WATER, SHELTER and AIR!!!!

Our sleep affects everything we do. It affects us emotionally, socially and mentally. Without sleep we become unable to function to our fullest potential.

Did you know that according to the neuroscientist Russell Foster, we spend 36% of our life asleep. That is on par with food, water and shelter. Sleep is essential and we have lost our love for it. I know it sometimes seems impossible to get to sleep, let alone enough sleep, the idea of getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep seems almost laughable at times. But we need sleep, and depending on your age, you may need more or less.

It is recommended that adults get 7-9 hours while teenagers get 8 - 10 hours, and fun fact, newborns 14 - 17 hours a day! As we age, our sleep patterns change, and often older adults tend to sleep more lightly and for shorter time spans than do younger adults. Since I wake up at the smallest sounds….does this mean I am older?? Just wondering. LOL

Not only is sleep essential to our own sanity and mental well being, but lack of sleep can affect your diet!! Yes, you heard me right, your DIET!

Sleep deprivation can be caused by more than just “Not Getting Enough Sleep”, it can also be caused by sleeping at the wrong time of day (night shift...the struggle is real as are the health effects), or not sleeping well. Nothing is worse than waking up all night or having a sleep disorder that prevents you from getting decent sleep.

Lack of sleep increases the production of a hormone called ghrelin and ghrelin makes you crave carbs and particularly sugar ...all those things we know we shouldn’t have. Especially late at night! Not only that but poor sleep has been linked to higher body weights! Poor sleep has been linked to increased risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression and stroke. Did you know that it only takes 6 days of sleep deprivation to cause prediabetes in adults. Who needs that!

Lack of sleep also affects your memory, judgement, irritability and your body’s ability to defend itself! Did you know just ONE NIGHT of NO SLEEP can actually reduce your immune system by 25% and with Covid19, the flu and every other little bacteria and virus that we have been masking 😷 out since 2019 literally knocking on the front door, do we really need that?!

Once we hit that wall and we are sleep deprived, that lack of judgement also makes it harder for us to realize just how sleepy we are and we fall into a bad downwards spiral!

Getting a good night's sleep can have so many benefits including improving concentration and productivity, improving your immune functions, and maximizing your athletic performance making it easier to crush your workout at the gym! We need sleep, our body uses the time to do so much for us. During the rapid eye movement stage (REM Stage) or our sleep our brain is working overtime. It uses that time to help organize and file all the information it took in through the day.

Some tips to help you get a good night's sleep are:

  • Have your bedroom as dark and as cool as possible.

  • Invest in some black out curtains, and get a fan.

  • Make yourself comfortable and your bedroom an inviting place you WANT to spend time

  • Skip that 3 pm cup of coffee. Drinking caffeine late in the day may give you the kick to get over the mid-day crash, but it will affect your ability to go to sleep that night.

  • PUT THE PHONE DOWN! Stop scrolling through Instagram and turn the TV off

  • Set a regular schedule, be it 9 pm or 11 pm. We are creatures of habit, and a routine will make it much easier to not only go to bed, but fall asleep ZZZZZZZ’s.

Give yourself a special treat and get some sleep, your body and mind and DIET will thank you!



bottom of page