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Sleep is Important But Never More Than Now

Sleep is Important But Never More Than Now

Catching up on sleep doesn’t reverse damage to the body caused by sleep deprivation, according to a new study. In fact, so-called recovery sleep may make some things worse.

About one of every three adults regularly gets less than seven hours of sleep a night. Over time, lack of sleep can lead to changes in metabolism. These increase the risk for obesity and diabetes.

Some people try to make up for a lack of sleep by sleeping more on their days off. A research team studied this strategy for two weeks in 36 men and women. After three nights of normal sleep, the participants were split into three groups.

The first group slept up to nine hours a night. The second group was allowed a maximum of five hours of sleep a night. The third group had a maximum of five hours a night for five days, but were then allowed to sleep in for two days. They then had two more days of sleep deprivation.

Those who had only five hours of sleep a night gained about 3 pounds on average during the study. They also had a 13% decrease in a key measure of metabolism called insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity is the body’s ability to use insulin properly and control blood sugar levels.

Those who had recovery sleep gained about 3 pounds but had a 27% decrease in insulin sensitivity. Their natural body rhythms were also disrupted. They were more likely to wake up during the nights following the period of recovery sleep.

Catch-up sleep does not appear to be an effective strategy to reverse sleep loss-induced disruptions of metabolism,” says Dr. Kenneth Wright, Jr., who led the study at the University of Colorado.

When you end up not getting minimal sleep during the night, you typically feel “off” throughout the following day. Not only can your mood and energy level remain low, your workout usually suffers as well. This seems to happen when you’re clocking less than 6 hours of sleep a night on a consistent basis. In addition, you may also notice you crave unhealthy foods following a sub-optimal amount of sleep the previous night.

What’s the Best Definition of Good, Quality Sleep?

“Sleep is the best meditation.”  ~ Dalai Lama

Sleep quality, as opposed to sleep quantity, refers to how well you sleep. It also includes falling asleep within 30-minutes or less, and sleeping through the night without having the need to get up. The one final piece you could add to the mix is when you’re awaken, for whatever reason, you’re able to fall back to sleep within 20-minutes.

The most valuable assets you have are your mind and body and they require a certain amount of sleep each night to function optimally. With that said, more than 60 percent of the population does not sleep well throughout the night. Research shows people getting less than six hours of sleep have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who sleep more than six hours. This is important because inflammation is linked to diabetes, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and premature aging. This data was published in the Centers for Disease and Control and Morbidity and Mortality Report.

Association Between Quality Sleep and Exercise

You work hard in the gym and try to eat healthy to give yourself the best chance for success. The last thing you want to do is ruin those odds by getting minimal sleep. Research from University of Chicago and University of Wisconsin show people who slept more carried less body fat. Subjects who monitored caloric intake and averaged 5.5 hours of sleep, had more body fat compared to subjects consistently getting 8.5 hours of sleep.

Finally, the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study looked at more than 1,000 subjects regarding their sleep patterns. They found those who slept less than 8 hours a night had an increase in BMI proportional to decreased sleep.

National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of uninterrupted, quality sleep for adults (ages 18-64). For older adults (age 65+), they suggest 7-8 hours of sleep a night. These recommendations were updated in 2015 and published in Sleep Health: The Official Journal of the National Sleep Foundation.

Final Thoughts on Sleep

One final comment on the importance of sleep that’s explained nicely in the book, Biological Rhythms and Exercise. “Weight-training exercises may be unaffected by partial sleep loss early on in a training session, but the performance suffers due to lack of drive and concentration as the (exercise) session continues.”

We are currently living in unprecedented times during these past years, and stress has affected us all in one or another. Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to how we’re living our life. Use both exercise and quality sleep each night to help reduce the amount of stress in your life.

Recommended Reading

Winter, C. (2017). The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix it. New York: New American Library.

Dement, W. (2000). The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s. New York: Dell Publishing.

Stay Strong Together

Jefit, named best strength training app by Sports Illustrated, Esquire, GQ, Men’s Health, Greatest, Forbes Health, and many others. We offer a community responsible for 92,000,000 workouts to date! The app, which recently passed 10 million downloads, comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app also has ability to track data, offer audio coaching cues, and can share workouts with friends. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals.

Read the scientific paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research using the Jefit app. Also, a great Jefit app review was recently published by MUO that can be found here.

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