Are you Getting Enough Sleep?

by James Kerrison on July 13, 2009

With the birth of twins only weeks away, I thought it would be an appropriate time to look at the importance of getting enough sleep and how it can effect  your fat loss efforts.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep each night then severely limiting your chances of success. Heck, sleep deprivation is a recognised form of torture! Even  the smallest loss of sleep, one hour, is enough to impair your cognition and motor skills. Now if you think about it, most of us are probably short changing  ourselves two to three hours a night, for months or years on end. If one hour of sleep loss is enough to decrease your performance and results then how can  you expect to go harder each session when you are burning the candle at both ends?

 

yawn

So we know that getting enough sleep is important, but why exactly? The biggest reason when it comes to helping your fat loss goals is hormone regulation.  Pretty much all of your hormones get out of whack. The ones that you want high, that help you stay lean, strong and healthy, will be reduced and the ones  that you want to keep low, such as corsitol, will be increased. There’s no surprise that research is showing a strong connection between sleep loss and 
obesity.

“So how much sleep should I be aiming for?”
For optimal performance and health we are looking at getting around nine hours of sleep.
Whoa.
Hold Up.
Nine hours. heck, I’ll be happy to get four or five in a few weeks.
And I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that the only time you get nine hours sleep is Friday or Saturday night with a big sleep in.
Having said that, eight might get you by, but a lot of people aren’t even getting this much. That doesn’t mean that the recommendation should change. We are  talking about optimal performance and health here, being a parent of ‘three under three’ or being a busy executive obviously the best thing for your health  or performance!

So what can we do? The best way to catch up is to add in a ‘micro-nap’ once or twice during the day. Once a day is a breeze and with a bit of planning and  maybe some rule bending, you should be able to sneak in a second one. 20-30 minutes is all you need. Any longer and you’ll probably wake up more tired and  have thrown your sleep rhythm out of whack as well. The Japanese are right into this. Many of their schools have a sleep after lunch to reinvigorate the 
students. You will also find that ‘Sleep Stations’, ‘Sleep Pods’ and ‘Sleep Shops’ are making an appearance. They often also offer a shot of coffee before  the micro nap to help you kick on afterwards.

These micro naps will help to restore your optimal hormone balance and improve your recovery, helping you to become leaner, stronger and healthier.

As with anything you need to approach something new with an open mind. You might be thinking that there is no way you can get any sort of sleep in 20-30  minutes. But let me tell you this, some of the deepest and most refreshing sleep has come from using this technique.

I will set my alarm for 20 minutes post  and won’t even know where I am when it goes off! Now this doesn’t happen all of the time. Sometimes it will be more of a rest than a sleep but that’s fine.  If your body needs the rest, you will fall asleep.

If possible you will be in a pitch black room (or use and eye mask), with no noise. Obviously this isn’t always possible but do your best to get these  conditions.

Give this a try for the next week or two and take note of how you feel and how your workouts are going. I know that I will be doing all I can to get these  extra sleeps in during the day!

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