Hello! Today I’d like to discuss an area of fitness that doesn’t get talked about a lot. The subject is sleep, and I want to try and help answer the question can sleep affect your body? The simple answer is yes, and I’ll go into more details as I go through the blog.
Sleep is an important body function and just as essential as eating, drinking, and breathing to stay healthy.
Ideally, you should aim to get between 7-8 hours of quality, comfortable sleep each night, preferably 8. If you’re unable to get that much sleep for any reason, then a nap during the day can also help.
Studies have shown you could suffer from the effects below if you get less than 6 hours of sleep over a long period of time.
1. Immune System – Your immune system becomes weaker putting you at higher risk of illness or disease. Some of these include chronic colds, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. This is because during sleep your body releases proteins that help cells repair themselves, your body actually does the majority of its healing while you sleep.
2. Mood – You’re likely to become more irritable and short-tempered. People may find you unpleasant to be around.
3. Vertigo – Your balance and coordination can become impaired making you more prone to falls and accidents.
4. Cognitive Function – It becomes harder to focus and learn new things. Your sense of judgement and decision making becomes clouded. If you drink alcohol all of these conditions become magnified even more. This is because your body doesn’t break down the alcohol as efficiently as it normally would.
5. Memory -Your short term and long term memory becomes worse because your nerve cells aren’t able to repair themselves effectively as usual.
6. Mental Illness – You could suffer from hallucinations, delusions, depression, bipolar disorder, paranoia, or suicidal thoughts.
7. Micro Sleep – This is when you sleep for a few seconds or a few minutes without realizing, it’s basically like blacking out.
It’s been known to lead to car accidents and other serious mishaps.
8. Weight Gain – The hormone cortisol gets released in your body which causes an increase in body fat. Also, the hormone ghrelin gets released causing your appetite to be stimulated.
Conversely, the hormone leptin which suppresses your appetite gets released less. If that weren’t bad enough, your metabolism in general slows down as well.
9. Headaches – You’ll be more prone to chronic headaches including migraines
10. Mortality – Your overall lifespan becomes shortened with chronic sleep deprivation. This is related to all the health problems you can expect to incur.
Summary – Your body needs sleep to recover from its daily activities and exercise. If you’re looking for a reason to work out, and there are many to choose from, you can think about this – exercise helps you fall asleep quicker and stay in a deep sleep longer.
Also, adequate sleep will help you perform exercises and daily functions better. If you have insomnia or any other sleep problems, I strongly suggest seeing a doctor to have it addressed.
The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) published a great article on sleep loss and fitness you can see here. If you have any comments or questions please let me know and I will get back to you. Thanks for reading and sweet dreams!