In today’s society, a huge emphasis is placed on work and productivity over anything else. This could mean sacrificing quality of nutrition to save time (fast food), and or sleep deprivation, whether it be on purpose, or due to parties or late night gatherings, stress etc…
The single factor that will have an impact on the widest array of health qualities is sleep! It is so important that it is something I will look at first when consulting a client for health optimisation in my gym. I will spend as much time as we need, trying out different strategies, until it is no longer a problem. This all happens before moving onto anything else!
When we sleep, it gives our system a chance to recover, which directly affects our performance the very next day. The actual time we get to sleep will specifically impact the benefit that we reap from our time spent in bed. From 10pm-1am it is primarily time for brain regeneration! The time between 1am-7am is mostly physical regeneration. This would dictate that the times we get to bed past 1 am at night, we are sabotaging half of our recovery efforts! Sleep is the most underrated recovery mechanism. Living in a world full of constant stresses, from the morning traffic rush, the business presentation, the gym, and putting the kids to bed, it has never been more important to get a good night’s sleep.
How and Why this is Important
People that can’t fall asleep have trouble getting stress hormones to go down at night. People that can’t wake up in the morning have trouble releasing the surge of energising hormones that should come with the morning. People that have trouble staying asleep are often over stressed to the point where they are nutrient depleted and are suffering from things such as liver toxicity, oxidative stress, and unbalanced neurotransmitters in the brain. When I speak of the importance of brain regeneration, here is what I mean: The endocrine system is what manages your hormones.
Hormones dictate what builds (anabolism) and what gets broken down (catabolism). They also dictate your status as a male or female (testosterone, estrogen, progesterone) as well as things like mood, focus, hunger, hydration balance, blood pressure, digestion, survival, reproduction etc… As you can see, these can have quite an impact on quality of life to say the least!
Deep in the centre of your brain are two very important glands. The pituitary and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the major control centre of most of your brain’s survival functions. It is what tells everything else what needs to happen for survival. The hypothalamus tells the pituitary which hormones it needs to secrete in order to elicit a response from the rest of your endocrine system.
Think of the hypothalamus as the king of the body’s functions, while the pituitary is the general of your endocrine system battalion. One takes direct orders from the other. If the pituitary general is fatigued from poor sleep, the orders will not be carried out efficiently, and the war may b