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Sleep – Your Secret Weapon

“The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. The leading causes of disease and death in developed nations—diseases that are crippling health-care systems, such as heart disease, obesity, dementia, diabetes, and cancer—all have recognized causal links to a lack of sleep.” Dr. Matthew Walker, PhD, Author of Why We Sleep

Adequate hours of high quality, uninterrupted sleep is just as, if not, more important to your health and fitness than all of the hours you put into your workouts and your nutrition. Sleep is our natural great enhancer of physical and cognitive health and performance. The global lack of sleep goes beyond simply being cranky for the next day. It affects our appetites, our ability to drive cars, perform our basic work or athletic tasks, and can be a root cause for many of the chronic diseases that affect modern society.

Common consequences of routinely getting less than six hours of sleep are:

  • Memory loss, loss of performance, alertness, and concentration
  • Becoming unaware of the above impairments–they become your norm
  • Two times more likely to get into a car accident
  • 200% more likely to have a heart attack in your lifetime
  • You will likely eat more, due to the increased hours in your day
  • The calories you consume will likely be of lower quality because we tend to crave sugary/fatty foods when sleep-deprived
  • The body goes into a pre-diabetic state, so your body won’t be nearly as effective at handling calories you consume
  • Your immune system becomes compromised
  • The risk for cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s increases substantially
  • Your lifespan will likely be shortened

The consequences of sleep deprivation is serious. Like you, I’ve allowed myself to shave-off precious hours of sleep. Why? It’s a matter of priorities. I’ve been a new parent, worked midnight shifts, and been a military/first-responders — these experiences disrupted natural sleep/wake rhythms–it came with the job.

Most people get inadequate sleep because they choose to delay their bedtime. 

If we were to remove a few forms of stimulation, especially the electronic type, it’s likely more people would get about eight hours of sleep each night, due to the natural sleep/wake cycles of the human brain.

What does your sleep hygiene look like? Do you need help creating a routine? Ask a Coach today.

In Strength and Love,
Dan and T

information credit: The Ready State (TRS)

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