The Importance of Sleep For Health & Fitness: The Ultimate Guide

What Are the Real Health Impacts of Poor Sleep?

One in three adults in America are sleep deprived, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On the one hand, many aren’t getting the required seven hours of sleep a night. On the other hand, many who are meeting their nightly quota of zzzs aren’t enjoying good sleep quality.

If you are a fitness buff, poor sleep can affect your performance in many ways. Discover why sleep should be a greater priority in your life, and harness its power to help you achieve your fitness goals.

The Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Performance

Sleep deprivation can make you less efficient at your chosen sport or workout routine because it decreases your reaction time, affects your mood, and impairs your motor and cognitive performance.

Sleep deprivation can also affect your performance in the long term, since it increases the likelihood of weight gain, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Sleep deprivation also leads you to take risks that can result in a greater likelihood of accidents. If you are into motor sports, take special note. Sleep deprivation is the greatest cause of preventable accidents – more so than driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Sleep and HGH

If you are sleeping enough hours but you feel tired when you wake up or you have been performing less than optimally at the gym, it could mean your sleep quality is poor.

Good sleep quality involves falling asleep within half an hour of getting into bed, and waking up no more than once at night.

If you are constantly tossing and turning, it means you may not be making your way through all the key sleep cycles – including the ‘deep sleep’ stage, when the body produces most Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This hormone is key for muscle and tissue formation.

Is Sleep Apnea the Problem?

Bodybuilders who notice they have hit a plateau should consider having a sleep test to see if sleep apnea (temporary and repeated interruption of breathing) or snoring are hampering their sleep quality.

They should also try to create a more comfortable room, using blackout curtains and soundproofing to keep the room dark and quiet.

Your choice of bed is also crucial. As noted by Bedtester (https://bedtester.com/), sleeping well involves finding a mattress that is the right firmness for your sleeping position.

Side sleepers, for instance, benefit from memory latex foam mattresses, which provide support to all major pressure points. Back and tummy sleepers, meanwhile, will want a firmer mattress to avoid back pain.

Your bedroom should also be on the cool side, since body temperature naturally drops when it is time to sleep, and heat can boost alertness.

The Effect of Sleep on Mental Health

Any serious athlete knows that staying at the top of their game is as much a mental as it is a physical pursuit.

Studies have shown that insomnia is a major predictor of depression. A study by Dinges et al found that sleeping for around five hours a night for seven nights straight resulted in powerful impairments of mental well-being, including day sleepiness, extreme tiredness, confusion, stress, and disturbed mood.

In other studies (Killgore et al), subjects who were sleep deprived show confusion, loss of vigor, and lower frustration tolerance.

The Bottom Line

To stay at the top of your game at the gym or in your chosen sport, good rest is key. Aim to achieve at least seven or eight hours a night, and make sure that when you wake up, you feel re-energized – otherwise, sleep apnea might be a problem. Create a restful bedroom that is conducive to good sleep and consider relaxation exercises before you sleep, to ensure stress doesn’t cause you to toss and turn at night.


What Are The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation On Human Health?

poor sleepPeople openly boast of how they sleep for only three hours every day but is that really something to be proud of?

Every adult needs about 7-9 hours of sleep every day to function at their best. Unfortunately, many adults do not adhere to this and they have failed to realize that many of the common illnesses seen in the world today are strongly linked to sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is simply a situation where an individual is not getting the required amount of sleep. It can be caused by insomnia, stress or bad sleeping habits among other causes. While mattresses as Soundasleep Dream Series air mattress make a night’s sleep worthwhile, many people have a hard time clearing their schedule for adequate sleep.

Sleep deprivation can cause lots of health problems and this article analyzes the kind of problems that could result from sleep deprivation.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Health of an Individual

Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Health

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General Impairment

This is one of the first noticeable signs of sleep deprivation. It is also common. General impairment could range from behaving sluggishly at work, as serious as driving in a way that can put the life of pedestrians at risk. Sleep deprivation comes with general tiredness, so a general loss of abilities is not surprising.

Exhaustion in Muscles

When sleep deprivation happens on a steady, the exhaustion begins to spread to the muscles. Muscle weakness, muscle cramps, and muscle tremors are common symptoms that follow muscle exhaustion. In severe cases, there could be muscle tearing.

Signs of Psychosis

When sleep deprivation goes to an extreme, signs of psychosis are commonly noticed. Sleep sessions are basically restorative for the brain, so if the brain receives no restoration after a lot of exertion, it won’t be surprising to notice some symptoms of psychosis.

Hallucination, paranoia, inappropriate behaviors or responses, as well as a distorted recollection of events, are quite common.

Diabetes

A research in 2005 revealed that those who suffer sleep deprivation highly stand the chance of coming down with diabetes type 2. Also, abnormal sleep patterns have been found to result in impaired glucose tolerance. This situation will lead to obesity which makes it more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

The Brain and Cognitive Functioning

The physiology of the brain has been found to change following sleep deprivation. In the long run, the anatomy of the brain begins to slightly change as well. The things that are especially changed include the activity in the prefrontal cortex, language processing, and learning, as well as general brain activity and function.

There will be an increase in the activity level of the prefrontal cortex and this is because the brain usually needs to compensate for the decreased level of functioning that occurs because of sleep deprivation.

The temporal lobe is the language processing area. There is a significant decrease in the activity occurring in the temporal lobe. Hence, an individual who is sleep-deprived might find it difficult to process languages they might have learned but doesn’t happen to be their first language.

Overall, sleep deprivation causes a decrease in the activity and the functioning of the brain.

The Bottom Line

Sleep deprivation may sound like nothing serious, but the health effects of poor sleep are quite serious. The effect on the brain and other parts of the body are significant. For this reason, individuals need to pay more attention to creating enough time for sleep. Prioritizing rest and sleep as an important part of our lives early enough will help prevent serious health implications later on in life.


Why a Good Sleep is Important for Work Life Quality

Why a Good Sleep is Important for Work Life QualityHow important is a good night sleep when it comes to job performance? Well, if you are nodding off during business meetings or experiencing foggy thoughts throughout the day, consider that you probably aren’t getting enough sleep.  This could result in a feeling of tiredness the whole day affecting your job performance.

Nine Ways a Good Night’s Sleep Impacts Your Work Performance

Research has proven that making sleep your number one priority may advance your career. If you need proof, check out these important facts on how a good night sleep impacts your job performance.

#1. A Goodnight Sleep Helps you Recover from Distractions Faster

We often experience disruptions while at work. Our ability to recover from such distractions depends so much on the state of your mind. If you are feeling tired and exhausted as a result of accumulated lack of enough sleep, then you will definitely experience trouble refocusing on the work at hand after a disruption. This is in comparison to a colleague who had a good night sleep. It is important that you get enough sleep to ensure you are refreshed and that your mind is feeling energetic giving you the ability to refocus successfully.

#2. A Goodnight Sleep Means Fewer Burnouts

People who sleep for less than six hours are likely to experience a quick burnout while at work. This leads to loss of income since you are less productive at the peak hours. Business owners should encourage their staff to get enough hours of sleep to ensure maximum productivity the next day. Number one factor why you might be getting fewer hours of sleep is an uncomfortable mattress. This is dependent on the sleeping habit of the individual. For instance, a side sleeper should invest in the best mattress for side sleepers that will support the body posture. For optimal comfort and support maximizing your sleep hours get a single mattress whether you sleep on your front back or the side.

#3. It Aids Your Decision Making

After a restful night, your mind is energetic enough allowing you to make well though business decisions. As a business manager, it is important that you give a good thought to every decision you are making. Likewise for business owners, when you need to make a split second decision the experience is always better if you got a good night sleep. This ensures that appropriate decisions are made and so a better performance at work. People who experience a poor sleeping pattern will always experience problems making important decisions that affect their business performance. This could lead to millions of dollars loss costing the business its future. Why not get a Cal King mattress to ensure guaranteed comfort and restful sleep every night.

#4. Experience Less to no mistakes at all

People who experience sleep deprivation payoff through less accuracy on simple tasks. Basically, the mind is unable to concentrate and hence affecting their judgment even when tasked with simple responsibilities. Basically, this will show even when driving to work. People who get enough sleep are able to make better decisions even on the road.

#5. Enough Sleep Limits Procrastination

Procrastination is mostly a result of impaired cognitive skills which occur whenever one is not getting enough sleep. You will have a less ability to handle complex tasks hence end up postponing the task at hand. Employees who get enough sleep finish their tasks on time and will handle more work compared to those who are getting inadequate sleep. This is because they are well rested enabling them to stick to the task to completion. This is coupled with proper decision making and cognitive skills, thus contributing to better job performance.

#6. Enough Sleep Pays you Through a High-level Creativity

Through improved problem-solving skills and better cognitive skills, you are always able to become more creative enabling you to overcome work-related difficulties. Studies show that sleep deprivation leads to impaired problem-solving skills. Getting a high-quality sleep, on the other hand, allows you to make better decisions hence problem-solving is at the peak. That is why students who attend morning preps have a better chance for passing in their forthcoming exams.

#7. Proper Sleep Among Employees Ensures More Deadlines are Met

Wondering why your submissions are falling behind the deadline always? It might be because your employee’s aren’t getting a good night sleep. This might be as a result of continuous procrastination as well as less concentration hence they aren’t able to handle the workload effectively and efficiently. To overcome this problem, encourage your employees to ensure they are getting a good night sleep so that they are well rested and more productive. This will ensure timely submissions throughout and so better productivity at work.

#8. Better Sleep Improves your Overall Body Health

The quality of sleep and duration of sleep have a major effect on health of an individual. Sleep even impacts your performance in the gym. Scientists and medical practitioners have discovered that people who don’t get enough sleep are far greater at risk of suffering from serious illnesses like heart disease and stroke. In addition, sleep affects the glucose metabolism affecting type 2 diabetes risks. Poor sleeping habits are strongly linked to effects on the blood sugar while those who sleep for less than six hours per night are at risk of type 2 diabetes. When the effects of diabetes and other chronic diseases are felt, it leads to lower productivity at work.

#9. Poor Sleep is Linked to Depression affecting Performance at Work

Depression is a mental health issue and it is strongly believed to be caused by lack of proper sleep. Sleeping disorders have been linked to depression and doctors always recommend that insomnia patients are encouraged to take sleep pills to reduce the risk of depression. Depressed employees will definitely perform poorly at work.

The Bottom Line

Are you getting a high-quality Sleep every night? The secret is investing in a comfortable bed and crowning it with a good mattress. Business owners should encourage their employees to get a good night sleep always. This will have a positive reward for the whole organization as the employees will be well rested, encouraging proper decision making.


How to Catch an Elusive Night’s Sleep

lack of sleep and bodybuilding

It is a common complaint to hear. So many people are unable to get a healthy night’s sleep.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines a healthy amount sleep as seven hours or more each night.

Your behaviors and routines during the day and before you go to bed can have an impact on the amount and quality of sleep you experience.

Everything from what you eat and drink to your level of daily exercise to the medications you take can make a difference between restless and sound sleep.

Sleep Tips

If you have difficulty sleeping or want to establish better sleep habits, consider implementing some of the following tips.

  •       Set a bedtime that allows you to get seven hours of sleep.
  •       Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
  •       Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol before bed.
  •       Make your bedroom a comfortable and relaxing place to sleep.
  •       Don’t eat a large meal before heading to bed. If you are hungry, eat a light, healthy snack instead.
  •       Only go to bed when you are sleepy. If you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up.
  •       Only use your bed for sleep and sex. Avoid using your bed or bedroom to study or work.
  •       Try to keep your sleep schedule consistent even on weekends and vacations.
  •       Eat a healthy diet and exercise daily.
  •       Resist napping during the day.

Healthy Eating Habits

A lack of sleep can cause you to overeat, but can your diet affect your sleep? Not a lot is known about how exactly diet influences sleep patterns. A balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and overeating has been linked to a lack of sleep, so healthy eating habits may very well lead to better sleep.

Studies have shown a correlation between diet patterns and sleep patterns. It seems that diets that include the highest caloric intakes lead to normal to low sleep hours.

Diets that included a wide variety of foods and lower calories seemed to lead to normal to high sleep hours. Drinking lots of water also seemed to lead to better, healthier sleep.

Things like caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can definitely affect your slumber. Most people know that coffee can keep them awake at night, but be aware of other culprits like sodas, chocolate, tea, and any items that have hidden caffeine additives. Nicotine also causes problems because, like caffeine, it is a stimulant. Many studies actually show that nicotine is linked to insomnia. If you want a good night’s sleep, avoid smoking within a few hours of going to bed.

Alcohol has a unique effect on sleepers. Many people think a nightcap before bed helps them relax a bit. Although it may help you settle down for the night, alcohol can actually cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and lead to overall restlessness.

Other foods you may be wise to avoid include spicy and acidic foods. These heartburn-causing provisions can lead to sleep hindering discomfort. Eating spicy and acidic foods right before lying down is a recipe for disaster.

Exercise Daily

A natural remedy for insomnia can be found in a little extra intentional movement during the day. As little as ten minutes of aerobic exercise can greatly improve the quality of your sleep. Regular exercise may also prevent sleep disorders like restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea.

Not only does exercise ultimately help the quality of sleep you get but it also improves the duration. Your quality of sleep directly impacts your performance in the gym, too.  It may also reduce stress and help tire you out. The timing of rigorous exercise may affect each individual differently. Experiment with different times of day to find your perfect balance. Some people find it hard to fall asleep if they work out too close to bedtime.

It is a known fact that a full body workout can ultimately lead to a healthier sleep routine. Some studies have shown that these positive effects could take several weeks or months to manifest themselves.

The Bottom Line

Sleep is vital to good health. Yet, it is something that sometimes seems elusive. There are some natural remedies available to troubled sleepers that may lead to a more restful night. Eating a balanced diet and exercising daily are two ways you may be able to improve your sleep hygiene. Avoid problematic foods and drinks, move your body regularly, and establish a good bedtime routine and you may find you improve your overall health.


Top 5 Tips to Get a Restful Night’s Sleep

Having a good night’s sleep is something everybody should experience more often than they do. Getting a good night’s rest can help you be more productive, feel less tired and allows you to go throughout your day without having to take a nap or two.

The art of getting a good night’s sleep is not rocket science, but there are several things you can do to increase your chances of not having to stay awake in your bed for hours.

Here are 5 things you can do to get some serious rest:

1. Create A Routine

You will want to create some kind of a routine of different things that relax you and are healthy for you. This can be simple things such as taking a shower, brushing your teeth and massaging your feet. It could also be stretching, getting into a nice, clean bed and putting on some white noise. There are a lot of different things that can be done and not all of these things are going to help everyone get to bed. It will take some experimenting but once you find what works for you, you can create a routine before you go to bed.

2. Get Rid of Distractions

If you feel relaxed and have done relaxing things before you go to bed and still can’t fall asleep you may need to get rid of distractions in your home. This could be something such as getting a lock on your bedroom door or securing a home security system so you don’t have anxiety of a robbery.

Your physical surroundings could also be the cause of your inability to fall asleep. Make sure that your lights are off and the room is dark. If there are loud noises you may want to invest in some earplugs or get a sleep mask to block out any light from outside.

3. Watch Your Diet

If you are prone to acid reflux this is for you. Overall it is just unhealthy to eat right before you go to bed. Your stomach is usually full and you are trying to sleep on a side that feels comfortable and you can’t even think about sleeping on your stomach.

If you do end up eating before you go to bed it is best to fall asleep on your left side. This way your stomach is on the bottom not the top and allows your digestion process to carry on as normal without any extra upsets. Avoiding spicy foods is also helpful or large amounts of food.

4. Have a Schedule

It is best if you are able to fall asleep and wake up at the same time everyday. While this isn’t always possible because life can get crazy, you will want to try and set your alarm for the same time everyday. This will help your body healthy and have some normality with your sleep schedule. Your schedule doesn’t have to be exact, as long as you start your routine around the same time every night and have an alarm set for the next morning this should be enough to alert your body it is night to sleep.

5. What are You Sleeping On?

Your mattress or even your sheets could be the culprit of your poor night’s sleep. This can be a little hard to believe but think about it. If you are sleeping on a surface that is too soft or too hard for your body, your body is going to let you know about it even if you are really tired.

The Bottom Line

Getting a sleep routine and figuring how what your body needs to be able to fall asleep. If you have done a lot of research and put a bunch of effort into your sleeping and you still can’t fall asleep you will want to consider consulting a trusted medical professional.

What are some things that you do to help you fall asleep and stay asleep? Comment below and be sure to share with a friend that has trouble falling asleep!


8 Common Myths and Facts About Sleep

You may have heard or experienced some of the common myths about sleep. Some may mislead you with incorrect information while others can lead to serious and dangerous situations.

Misconceptions about what constitutes good sleep hygiene may contribute even increase your likelihood of experiencing sleep deprivation. Sleeping poorly at night doesn’t just mean you only become grumpy the next morning, in the short term it can reduce your performance levels at work or school, and in the long term may cause serious health problems like heart disease.

We all think we know a lot about sleep since we do it a lot, but how much of what you know is really true and how much of it is just rumors or misinformation? Here’s a list of some of the most common myths about sleep…

1. As You Grow Older You Need Less Sleep

The fact is your sleeping needs don’t necessarily change with your age. An average adult should still sleep 7-9 hours regardless of age. While your sleeping patterns may change as you grow older, the amount of sleep you need doesn’t change. Just because older people tend to wake up more frequently during the night and often early in the morning, meaning they sleep less, it doesn’t mean they need to sleep less than younger people. And because they didn’t get enough sleep during the night they, older folks tend to take naps during the day. Medication, body pains, and other underlying conditions may be making it hard for you to sleep.

2. Sleeping on Your Stomach is Bad for You

Many people think that sleeping on your stomach is the cause of facial wrinkles because of the pressure your pillow applies to your face. Others feel neck pains are inevitable because of the unusual angle you put your head when sleeping. The ideal sleeping position in in fact on your side. Sleeping on your stomach isn’t ideal. Most of the snoring and sleep apnea is caused by sleeping on your back. The best solution for you if you have a problem with snoring is sleeping on your side on a medium firm, comfortable loft bed that will provide support to your pressure points.

3. Consuming Alcohol Will Make You Sleep Better at Night

You will find some people fall asleep faster when they drink but since alcohol is a depressant, in the long run, the quality of your sleep will become poor. This is because when your body metabolizes alcohol it interferes with protein channels in your brain that regulates your sleeping cycle preventing you from having deep sleep. Alcohol has natural sedative properties that cause you to fall asleep faster, but your sleep is lighter and you keep waking up frequently. 

4. You Require 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night

The amount of sleep you require every night is different from person to person, although, most people sleep from 7-9 hours. However, this will all depend on your age, gender, and what you do during the day. If you sleep less than 5 hours every night, you’re more susceptible to getting stressed and being depressed, and if you sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours, you increase your chances of having metabolic syndrome.

Instead of being fixated on sleeping 8 hours, why not figure out how much sleep you need every night? That will allow you to wake up the next morning feeling well rested. You can start with sleeping 7 hours for a while to see if that’s the amount of time you need, and if not, you can keep adding some minutes until you get your magic sleep number.

5. It’s Not a Good Idea to Wake Up a Sleepwalker

Many of us may have heard that you should never wake a sleepwalker. Well, this is not true. Although it’s not always easy to wake up a sleepwalker, it’s harmless. For some people, sleepwalking is a big concern and it can put them in real danger. Some people don’t just walk in their sleep, they can leave the house and go driving or climbing things, while others may just eat uncontrollably. If you’re scared of giving a sleepwalker a heart attack, don’t be, you should be more concerned about the danger they’re putting themselves into when in their unconscious state. You can gently wake the sleepwalker, they will be a little bit startled but they will be fine.

6. You Can Catch Up on Missed Sleep During the Weekends

You might feel more rested after sleeping for more hours during the weekend, but that feeling is only temporary. After the long sleep, you will feel refreshed and busting with energy to face the day, but this feeling will only last 6 or more hours before your reaction time will become much slower than normal. Trying to pay your sleep debt is not only impossible but it can make things worse in the long run and it can lead to problems like obesity, high blood pressure, decreased productivity, negative moods, etc.

7. Exercising Before Bed Will Wear You Out and Help You Sleep Faster

When you exercise, you awaken endorphins that stimulate your body, so after a 30-minute workout, you will be very much awake. You might feel both physically and mentally tired but it will be hard to fall asleep directly following a workout. The best time to exercise would be early in the morning to get you energized for the day or in the afternoon if you feel you need a boost to get you through the remainder of the day. If you over exercise or exercise too close to your bedtime, it will make it harder for you to fall asleep. 

8. Although It’s Very Annoying, Snoring Isn’t Normally a Big Deal

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea which is a condition where you stop breathing while in your sleep. Chronic loud snoring is caused by a blocked airway or you could snore because of a cold or allergies which make your nose stuffy or blocked. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have very fatal outcomes considering you might stop breathing for more than one minute. It’s best to see a doctor to try and find a solution.

The Bottom Line

Now that you are aware of some common myths and facts about sleep, you can cultivate healthier sleeping habits which will help improve your health. Lack of enough sleep can weaken your immune system and cause serious health issues so be wiser and sleep better.


3 Reasons Sleep is Just as Important as Diet and Exercise and What to Do About It

3 Reasons Sleep is Just as Important as Diet and Exercise

We live in a culture that loves to share our workout routines and favorite healthy recipes, but when is the last time someone has given you sleep advice?

In a culture obsessed with health, there seems to be one major variable left out of the equation for a healthy lifestyle: sleep. Holistic health doesn’t come from only eating the right foods and hitting the gym three times a week. Food, exercise and sleep must work in tandem to help you optimize your health to the best it can be.

It’s no secret that sleep has a drastic impact on overall health and wellness. Research has shown that lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, immunodeficiency, an increase in negative moods, and yes, even weight gain.

Yet, we don’t take our sleep health as seriously as diet and exercise. In fact, we often believe the myth we can “catch up on sleep” over the weekend. The fact of the matter is, although you can sleep in on Saturday mornings, you will still suffer the consequences of sleep loss the morning after binge-watching Netflix on a work night.

Three Reasons Sleep is Just as Important as Diet and Exercise

So why do we let sleep fall through the cracks? Perhaps from lack of knowledge, but the more likely reason is it takes time and effort to maintain a healthy sleep hygiene. Whatever the case, here are three reasons we should be taking our sleep more seriously.

#1. Muscle mass comes from more than just lifting weights. It comes from sleep.

Sleep gives you the energy to get out of bed in the morning, literally.

Research points to the conclusion that sleep has a direct impact on productivity and energy levels. In one study conducted by the NINDS, researchers found sleeping longer increased levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in areas of the brain that are active while awake. ATP is a source of energy for brain cells. If sleep gives you the boost needed to get out of bed, how much more does it give you the energy needed to make it through the last mile of your run?

More than just energy levels, sleep impacts muscle mass. If you are an athlete striving to gain lean muscle mass, you need to pay close attention to your sleep habits. That’s because lack of sleep decreases testosterone levels, which in tandem with strength training increases muscle size and mass. Yes, that’s right. Testosterone is responsible for more than just sex drive, it is also responsible for the growth of muscle tissue.

Lastly, sleep’s primary functions is restoration.  It’s during sleep that muscle regeneration occurs. During REM sleep (the deep sleep where you lose all musculoskeletal function), your heart rate drops and your brain rests from activity, allowing blood flow to increase to your muscles. It’s the oxygen and nutrients this blood delivers to your muscles that allows growth and healing to occur. Without sleep, your cells and tissues don’t receive the nourishment needed to grow.

#2. Sleep loss throws your appetite out of whack

Lack of sleep has a number of effects on the body as it pertains to diet and appetite.

First and foremost, lack of sleep causes hormone disruption, two of which are leptin and ghrelin.

Ghrelin, known as the ‘hunger hormone’, found in the lining of your stomach controls your appetite. Leptin, on the other hand, is the hormone that helps you feel full. When you lose sleep, ghrelin and leptin levels are affected –  ghrelin levels go up and leptin levels go down. This impacts your metabolism by increasing your appetite while your brain simultaneously fails to signal that you are full (even though you should be satisfied). This can lead to weight gain by overeating. Yikes.

#3. Less sleep, more stress

Yet another hormone affected by sleep is cortisol, the stress hormone. Sleep and stress have a complicated relationship because the detrimental effects of lack of sleep and stress are cyclical. While lack of sleep often leads to an increase in stress levels, stress is common culprit of robbing sleep.

Stress has a number of health consequences. One of them is weight gain. Long-term or “chronic” stress can lead to an increase in hunger overtime. That’s because of two things. First and foremost, as cortisol levels rise, your appetite increases. Secondly, stress causes you to crave sugary foods. Why? High levels of cortisol, increase insulin which causes your blood sugar to drop. This results in a craving for sugary foods.

The best solution, get enough sleep to keep stress levels down.

Three Easy Tips to Improve Your Sleep Quality

If you have neglected your sleep health in the past, don’t fear! We all have. Here are three easy tips to improve your sleep quality moving forward.

#1. Make a sleep schedule and stick to it

If you are serious about your health, you aren’t new to making schedules. Just as you make meal plans and workout regimens, you should also make a sleep schedule and stick to it. After all, our bodies are designed to follow a sleep schedule. You may have noticed there are certain times of day you feel more alert or sleepy. That’s a result of your body’s internal biological clock known as its circadian rhythm.

It’s easier to get on a sleep schedule than you think. We do it as children, why not as adults? Circadian rhythms, which tell us when we need sleep and when to be awake, function best on a regular routine. One benefit to a regular sleep schedule is hormone regulation, which as we know, causes a lot of damage when out of whack.

Like with any schedule, sticking to it requires sacrifice. It means going to bed at a decent hour on Saturday night and waking up early on Sunday morning. It will never be perfect, but the benefits are definitely worth the effort.

#2. Consider the condition of your sleep structure

Your bed is the tool used to get great sleep. If you can’t sleep well in your bed, you may need to invest in a sleep structure that will help you get quality sleep.

Did you know, the average lifespan of a traditional innerspring mattress is seven to eight years? If you have been sleeping on a mattress passed down in your family for the 15-years it may be time to go shopping.

If you are making the effort to change your sleep habits, you should consider the tool that impacts your sleep the most.

#3. Create a wind down routine

At the end of the day, your brain needs time to wind down. About an hour before bed each night, opt to unplug from electronics (which could trick your brain it’s not time to power down) and begin preparing for bed. Try taking a hot bath, drinking a cup of chamomile or doing some light stretches to help prime your mind and body for sleep.

The Bottom Line

Now you can sleep easy at night knowing you have put the same effort into your sleep health as you put into your commitment to diet and exercise. Prioritize sleep. Your health depends on it.


How Sleep Impacts Your Performance in the Gym

How Sleep Impacts Your Performance in the GymIt’s important to understand how sleep impacts your performance in the gym. Have you ever felt that your exercise schedule or circuit training has not gone as well as you expected it to? Have you been feeling tired or has exhaustion come on earlier than you expected it to? There is a lot of published information available on the effect of sleep deprivation on athletic performance, although the results and conclusions of these studies are ambivalent and somewhat unclear.

Common Effects of Sleep Deprivation

The effects of sleep deprivation on athletic performance do not directly relate to your performance in the gym. Many studies, some of which are discussed below, have concluded that lack of sleep, or sleep disturbance, has a negative impact on the performance of athletes and other sportspersons, particularly on the night or two before competition. The effective word here is ‘performance’ which is not the same as training in the gym! However, there are some results which may directly be applied to gym training and exercise.

Many people are unaware of the importance of adequate sleep other than that alack of it makes them tired. Few are aware of the psychological or metabolic effects of sleep deprivation, or how it may affect their training performance so they get less benefit in the gym than they should. Here are a few effects of sleep deprivation not directly connected with your performance in the gym, but that could ultimately have an effect on fitness – and on your life. We shall explain later how it is possible for people to be fooled into believing they have over-trained.

Effect of Sleep Deprivation on Exercise Performance

A 1989 report by VanHelder and Radomski in Sports Med on the effect of sleep deprivation on exercise performance points to the effect of a lack of sleep on human metabolism.  Various studies on deprivation of sleep of 30 to 72 hours show no effect on cardiovascular and respiratory responses to exercise or on the capability of individuals to carry out aerobic and anaerobic exercise and training. Also unaffected are muscle strength and electromechanical responses.

Time to exhaustion, however, is decreased by a lack of sleep. Although ratings of perceived exertion always increased during exercise in sleep-deprived (30 to 60 hours) subjects compared with normal sleep, this is not a reliable assessment of a subject’s ability to perform physical work. That is because the ratings of perceived exertion are dissociated from any cardiovascular changes in sleep deprivation.

Effect of Napping on Performance and Subjective Factors

Another study, published in the February 2019 issue of ACSM, was carried out on the effects of napping on the alertness, cognition and performance of 13 male karate athletes proficient to national level.  The 13 were split between a reference normal night and a partial sleep-deprived night, and also a 30-minute nap and no-nap conditions. The results showed the nap to have no effect on physical performance or subjective fatigue in the reference (no deprivation) group, but to improve alertness and cognition.

The effect of the nap on the sleep-deprived group was to restore subjective alertness back to normal and also performance loss caused by the sleep loss. However, the nap had no effect on subjective fatigue. This tends to support the results of a previous study published in the December 2013 edition of the Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

This study concluded that self-reported measures were negatively affected and not improved by napping.  It looks like sleep deprivation could lead to an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system.  This, in turn, could simulate symptoms of the overtraining syndrome, where the body is pushed beyond its ability to recover.  The overtraining syndrome can in turn lead to insomnia and a vicious circle.

Being Fooled by an Autonomic Nervous System Imbalance

The autonomic nervous system is part of your nervous system that controls certain bodily functions that you do not consciously control yourself. This includes respiration rate and your heartbeat. Check out this 2015 Sports Med abstract published by NCBI which explains how it is possible for the autonomic nervous system imbalance to fool athletes by simulating symptoms of the overtraining syndrome. If an athlete believes he or she has overtrained, then that could be placed squarely at the feet of sleep deprivation. It may then be a matter of perception rather than a genuine loss of stamina or increased fatigue in the gym.

In Conclusion

The evidence largely supports the view that good quality sleep is needed for maximum athletic performance; the more sleep the better. However, the view that lack of sleep has a significant effect on your performance while training in the gym is equivocal.  It may be just your impression of inadequate performance and increased fatigue brought on by sleep deprivation.  Further research is needed in order to improve our knowledge of how sleep impacts your performance in the gym – or your overall athletic performance.


How Your Mattress Could Be Affecting Your Training

Sleep is essential for your well-being.

And physical performance is one of the areas affected by sleep the most.

That’s not it! Your mattress might be the one to blame for your poor endurance at the gym and slow recovery after workouts.

Can’t imagine how these two things are connected? You will understand in a few minutes.

How to Know Your Mattress Is to Blame

If you don’t have any health issues, then your mattress is the critical item that defines the quality of your sleep.

Here are the main signs telling you that your bed isn’t right for you:

  • Age of your bed. Depending on the materials and construction of the mattress, its average lifespan is between 7-10 years. However, if your bed has been serving you for more than ten years, chances are it cannot be supportive and comfortable anymore.
  • Saggy spots and indentations. These happen because your mattress gradually conforms to your body and loses its ability to spring back over time. This sign of general wear and tear is more typical of foam mattresses, especially cheaper ones. Besides, cheaper mattresses also tend to develop lumps in their upper layers.
  • Back or neck pain. You may often wake up with soreness when your mattress is too soft or too firm for you. If that’s the case, your bed probably cannot maintain the proper spine alignment, thus creating awkward, unnatural curves and straining muscles, which are supposed to relax at night.
  • Insomnia episodes. An old or unsuitable bed increases the time you spend tossing and turning before finally finding a comfortable sleeping position. Thus, you may begin to suffer from insomnia.
  • Hot sleeping. Any mattress starts sagging over time. Because of that, you may find yourself sinking more deeply into the bed. Thus, the area of the contact between your body and the mattress increases and you may start sleeping hot. Studies show that increased body temperature inhibits melatonin production and may lead to disrupted sleep.

“Dust mites, mold and debris accumulate inside the mattress over time and can trigger asthma, allergies, and hypersensitivity in some people.”

5 Ways a Wrong Mattress Can Wreck Your Athletic Achievements

If you don’t rest, you won’t be your best, right?

A wrong mattress can prevent you from scoring your records and making workout progress in several ways. Here they are.

#1. Aches and Pains

A pleasant feeling of the pumped muscles is a sign of a good workout.

However, if you’re training in the evening and go to sleep a couple of hours after, a wrong mattress can contribute to your sore mornings even more than the training session.

The reason lies in the lack of supportive properties. Your mattress, while being unable to maintain proper spine alignment, also puts a strain on your warmed-up muscles. The result is obvious: you will wake up with pain.

#2. Decreased Endurance

Sleeping on a wrong mattress can also adversely affect your nervous system. Although studies conducted on this topic didn’t find the connection between mild sleep deprivation and anaerobic performance, they found that short sleep can significantly slower reaction time.

Thus, if you’re a fan of high-intensity training or need a good reaction, for example, for boxing or martial arts, then sleep deprivation caused by a bad mattress can prevent you from beating your scores.

Also, short sleep affects coordination and concentration ability. This may become dangerous if you’re training with heavy weights.

#3. Slower Recovery Time

Sleep is essential for your recovery, and it’s a fact. During the night, your body switches to anabolism phase and starts a bunch of processes to repair your body:

  • replenishment of the glycogen deposits in the liver and muscle tissue;
  • increase in the level of human growth hormone in the blood, which contributes to muscle fibers growth and repair;
  • production of specific proteins called cytokines that boost your recovery by fighting inflammation in the muscles;
  • release of testosterone, melatonin and other hormones that are important for your recovery.

If you’re tossing and turning on your mattress for hours, these processes will be delayed. So, don’t expect fast progress towards your goals.

#4. Food Cravings

The success of your training is greatly dependent on the things you do outside the gym, such as nutrition and sleep.

The thing is that the production of ghrelin and leptin — our hunger and satiety hormones — is tied to healthy sleep. If you lack proper shut-eye on a regular basis because of your mattress, the levels of ghrelin in your blood increase and you might experience the following signs:

  • Binge eating. The key to losing weight and become leaner is the calorie deficit. If you binge eat, you can quickly go over your daily intake even with healthy meals.
  • Craving of sugary and fat foods. Your body might be tired and drowsy because of poor sleep, but it’s not stupid. Studies link sleep deprivation with the increased cravings of sweets and junk foods because your body sees them as the easiest way to restore energy.
  • Weight gain. Shortly speaking, this is the direct result of impaired food behavior described in the two points above.

A night of poor sleep is perceived as a stressful situation by our bodies. This means that the level of cortisol can elevate and trigger an insulin response. Which is not good. Studies agree that insulin resistance is one of the primary causes of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

All of this doesn’t sound so healthy and athletic, does it?

#5. Cardiovascular Risks

Heart health is a critical component of your athletic performance. But poor sleep can adversely affect it in a bunch of ways:

  • High blood pressure. Your blood pressure typically drops at night, allowing your heart to work in a more relaxed pace. If you can’t fall asleep on a bad mattress, your heart stays “awake” for longer and keeps the blood pressure elevated. You may even develop hypertension, which is a leading cause of stroke and heart attack in adults.
  • Inflammatory processes. The aforementioned elevated levels of cortisol can also affect heart health and cause arrhythmia.
  • High insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that your body needs more insulin to put blood sugar into cells where it can be transformed into energy. If the insulin levels are lower than required, then the sugar will build-up in your blood vessels and can damage them, causing bleeding and thrombosis.

The Bottom Line

The mattress you sleep on each and every night is more important than you may have thought, especially when it comes to your training and overall athletic performance. A crappy mattress may not just cause you to wake up in pain each morning, it can negatively impact your health and fitness, or worse. But now that you’re in the know, it’s time to evaluate yours and replace it if necessary.


Inadequate Sleep and Your Physique

lack of sleep and bodybuildingSleep is probably one of the easiest things you can do when it comes to building a better physique.  All it requires is a little bit of planning and some time.  However, when it comes to bodybuilding the importance of sleep is often overlooked.

Why Do You Need Sleep?

During sleep hormones are released, tissues grow and get repaired, and energy is restored making us feel refreshed and alert to get through our daily activities. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

However, many of us don’t get enough sleep because of our sleep needs aren’t ahead of our other priorities, but when other things take precedent over our sleep it has its ill effects on bodybuilding.

Not only does a lack of sleep lower your testosterone levels, but it also increases your appetite which is a dreadful combination for a bodybuilder.

Lowers Testosterone

The principal male sex hormone testosterone is a naturally occurring androgenic hormone which is responsible for characteristics such as growth of body hair, growth of bone and muscle tissue, and the deepening of the voice. For bodybuilding purposes, testosterone is the most prominent of hormones.

Studies have shown that testosterone combined with strength training substantially increases the amount of muscle size and strength3.  However, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that five hours of sleep per night for just one week decreased testosterone levels as much as 15% in young men1. This is bad news for anyone trying to maximize their muscle mass.

If you want to help ensure you don’t hinder your potential muscular growth, then you’ll want to consistently get more than five hours of sleep on a nightly basis.

Increases Appetite

The long-term consumption of excess food in relation to the energy that a person expends is generally referred to as overeating. This excess food consumption without an increase in energy expenditure over time can lead to the type of weight gain we are trying to avoid as bodybuilders.

A study published in the American Journal of Human Biology found that lack of sleep impacts the hormone secretion of ghrelin, which is responsible for increasing appetite, and leptin, which tells the body when it’s satisfied2. This disruption in hormones leads to increased food intake without the compensating energy expenditure.  In other words, not getting adequate sleep can lead to overeating and unwanted weight gain.

Low testosterone plus an increased appetite is a potent formula for weight gain and an increased waistline. Fight unwanted body fat by including your sleep needs with your other top priorities. For adequate tissue repair, optimal testosterone levels, and a regular appetite, continuously get seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep on a nightly basis.

Lack Of Sleep And Bodybuilding:  References

1^University of Chicago Medical Center (2011, May 31). Sleep loss dramatically lowers testosterone in healthy young men.ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2011/05/110531162142.htm
2^Wiley-Blackwell (2012, April 17). Lack of sleep is linked to obesity, new evidence shows.ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2012/04/120417080350.htm
3^Bhasin S, Storer TW, Berman N, Callegari C, Clevenger B, Phillips J, Bunnell TJ, Tricker R, Shirazi A, Casaburi R (July 1996). “The effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on muscle size and strength in normal men”. N. Engl. J. Med. 335 (1): 1–7.


Why Sleep Helps Improve Muscle Mass

lack of sleep and bodybuildingYou can eat the right things, take the right supplements and hit the gym five times a week, but without proper sleep, athletic progress remains stagnant.

We all know sleep is integral to our overall health and wellness. Research shows lack of sleep can result in an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. What they don’t tell you is that loss of sleep can inhibit muscle growth.

That’s right. Without logging adequate hours of shut-eye each night, even the most effective workout and nutrition plans are useless.

Four Reasons Why You Need to Pay Attention to Your Sleep

If you are interested in gaining lean muscle mass, here’s why you need to pay attention to your sleep:

#1. Muscle regeneration occurs during sleep

Muscle growth hinges on the break down and repair of muscle tissue. After a workout, your body repairs damaged muscle fibers through a cellular process where it fuses muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands called myofibrils. These myofibrils increase in thickness and number to create muscle growth.

The muscle regeneration process doesn’t happen during your workout; it happens when you rest.

REM sleep is the deepest stage of sleep. During this phase of the sleep cycle, you lose all musculoskeletal function, your heart rate drops, and your brain rests from activity. This allows blood flow to increase to your muscles.

The oxygen and nutrients delivered to your muscles via blood vessels are the ingredients needed for growth and healing to occur. Without sleep, your cells and tissues don’t receive the nourishment needed to repair themselves.

If you’re not sleeping enough, your body doesn’t have time to rebuild muscle because it’s too busy trying to take care of the other important stuff (like white and red blood cell regeneration).

Not to mention, lack of sleep decreases testosterone levels. Testosterone, in tandem with strength training, is a hormone responsible for the increase of muscle mass and size.

#2. Protein synthesis takes place while you rest

Muscle growth only occurs when the rate of protein synthesis (creation by combination) is greater than the rate of protein breakdown. This happens during sleep.

When we are young, proteins from our diet are synthesized at a rapid rate while we are growing. When we get older, the rate of synthesization slows. As a result, it’s only through exercise that muscle proteins are synthesized to create larger and stronger muscles.

Eating close to bedtime can help increase protein synthesis during sleep.

#3. Growth hormones are produced while sleeping

Seventy-five percent of growth hormone is released during sleep. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is secreted to help rebuild your body tissue and muscles from the stresses (aka damage) of the day. HGH production decreases with age and is suppressed by lack of sleep.

#4. Focus and productivity is improved

A rested brain is a focused brain. And a focused brain is a motivated brain. As we sleep the brain recharges.

The amount of rest we get each night has a direct impact on productivity and energy levels. One study found sleeping longer increased levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in areas of the brain that are active while awake. ATP is a source of energy for brain cells. If sleep gives you the boost needed to get out of bed, how much more does it give you the energy needed to make it through the last 20 minutes of your workout?

In simple terms, when you sleep, you recover, and when you recover you replace, repair, and rebuild—all of which are needed for optimal progress.

Results don’t come from diet and exercise alone. Rather, food, exercise, and sleep must work in in tandem to help you optimize your health to the best it can be.

Three Tips to Improve Your Sleep Quality

If you struggle to get adequate sleep each night, here are three tips for logging more hours:

#1. Continue to hit the gym

As it turns out, exercising is a great remedy for troubled sleep. One research study found that 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise helped individuals with chronic insomnia fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Other studies show physical activity results in longer periods of deep, slow-wave sleep (the stage where muscle regeneration occurs).

Not to mention, a daily dose of exercise has the power to reverse the negative effects of stress—a common thief of quality sleep.

#2. Get a better mattress

As athletes, you should consider what type of mattress you are sleeping on to set yourself up for the best possible sleep each and every night. Believe it or not, your mattress can have a major impact on the quality of sleep you get and how you feel when you wake up. We are disciplined about our diet and exercise, we should be disciplined about our sleep habits too.

If you frequently experience restless nights you believe are caused by your mattress, take a look at the support it’s providing, if it puts pressure on your joints, or how it keeps your spine in alignment.

If you are regularly active, pay close attention to the support, pressure relief and cooling properties of your mattress.

#3. Create a wind down routine

Just like we meal prep and create a workout routine, we should also come up with a wind down routine and stick to it.

Since the invention of artificial light, our brains don’t automatically power down come night down. Our minds actually need to be prepped for sleep. About an hour before bed, start sending signals to your brain that bed time is approaching. Dim the lights, take a warm bath, stash the screens, whatever it takes to help your mind slow down.

The Bottom Line

Quality sleep is about as important as it gets when it comes to muscle recovery. When we sleep, our body essentially repairs our muscles to prepare for the day ahead, and this process is crucial. Without adequate sleep, the body may break down and experience injury, or at the minimum, it will definitely slow your progress in the gym. Follow these tips to get the most out of your sleep and this will reflect in your performance and improve your muscle gain.


Improving Sleep and Mood With A Weighted Blanket

weighted blanket

There are many causes of a messed up sleep, with stress being a leading factor.

If you lack a good sleep then you are likely not to function well during the day.

In most cases, people who do not have a good sleep have difficult concentration during the day and low productivity; either at school or at work.

Sleeplessness should be addressed before it leads to serious health issues like heart attacks. One mechanism of dealing with stress and insomnia is using weighted blankets.

Let us look at how weighted blankets can drastically help with sleep and stress.

How Do They Work?

Weighted blanket molds your body with warmth. It exerts pressure that helps your nervous system relax. Whenever pressure is gently exacted in the body, it stimulates the production of serotonin that naturally converts to melatonin.

Secretion of serotonin lifts your mood, enabling the body get to a resting mood. A weighted blanket is made with plastic poly pellets. This makes the blanket heavy.

When used it acts as a deep touch therapy giving deep pressure touch all over the body’s receptors. Whenever the receptors are stimulated, the body feels grounded, relaxed, and safe. Normally human beings fall asleep when the body is in a relaxation state.

How to get a Weighted Blanket?

Some people may decide to make one for personal use, but it is not advisable since you are likely to make a blanket that is too heavy or imbalanced, hence ineffective.

A great way to get a weighted blanket is by purchasing one. This is because it is made by a specialist, therefore, will fit for the intended purpose.

You can easily buy a weighted blanket online by looking up for sites selling weighted blanket like Hush Blanket. As you purchase go for a big blanket that will comfortably cover your body without struggling.

Disorders that Can be Treated using Weighted Blanket?

A weighted blanket helps the user relax and calm down when one wraps up in it. Moreover, it grants relief and comfort if it is laid on the lower back, laps or across the shoulders.

The calming effect it generates can be used to treat various types of disorder. In addition, they are used to supplement therapy in the following conditions.

  • Stress and panic attacks
  • Insomnia – by enabling those who use it fall asleep and stay asleep
  • ADD disorder by enabling young kids to relax both during the day and night
  • Restless leg syndrome by adding pressure to the lower body
  • Chemotherapy patients
  • Parkinson’s disease

The Bottom Line

Weighted blankets are an ultimate solution to sleep disorders and stress. It helps by generating pressure top the body making it relax.

Whenever the body is relaxed, it is automatically stress-free and in a position of falling asleep. You can easily purchase weighted blanket online.

Weighted blankets are useful to anyone including children. It is a great solution for sleep and stress disorders since it is a remedy that does not require pills that can be addictive or harm the body.




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