There’s certainly a link between the delay on this latest blog and my physical state over this last month. The accumulation of sleep deficit, work, long commutes and poor health choices regarding nutrition took its toll and manifested in getting sick. I’m sure most parents can relate to this. My wife as usual was awesome, but frustratingly I was unable to support her and invest time into the little one whilst I was man down. However, it was a good opportunity to review my daily routines and consider their value. If you read my last blog, you would be aware I was investing in my morning routine which starts at 5am, so you may be forgiven to question if this early start is worth pursuing. I am however, getting a lot out of my day due to this practice and I’m focused on making other adjustments to ensure I can maintain this period.
“Win the morning – win the day.” Tim Ferris.
I was mentioning this dilemma to a friend of mine who just happens to be a Doctor in physiology. He questioned my sleeping habits and suggested reducing training bouts or exploring avenues to claim back sleep (easier said than done???). He argued that sleep was the most important element to health and wellness and an aspect typically overlooked by most health practitioners who instead focus on promoting physical activity and healthy eating awareness. It’s worth noting he didn’t dismiss these aspects, just highlighted the limited education surrounding sleeping habits.
I was listening to a recent podcast from Joe Rogan interviewing neuroscientist Matthew Walker. Matthew confirms my friend’s theory regarding the damaging effects of sleep deficiency. I have attached their feature and recommend watching this clip, it’s genuinely concerning to consider the amount of damage being done through lack of sleep and importantly, the continuous trend towards poor sleeping habits.
Who gets seven to eight hours a day? This is considered to be a necessity, yet statistically the average is only six and alarmingly, I’m in that statistic.
Obviously, there are a variety of reasons why certain people do not get enough sleep. According to the National Sleeping Foundation, in the USA alone 40 million Americans suffer from different sleep disorders, many of these problems go undiagnosed as well as untreated. In addition, more than 69% of children consistently experience daytime sleepiness.
What happens when we sleep?
When we sleep, essential mental processes as well as physical processes are carried out.
When we follow proper sleep patterns, our bodies rest as well as conserve energy. This decreases blood pressure, breathing, heart rate and body temperature. In addition to this, our brain remains active; restoring daytime mental functioning, which promotes physical growth. In addition, sleep is important for the following processes:
• Restores your memory.
• Safeguards your immune system
• Plays a vital role in keeping the functioning of heart as well as blood vessels healthy.
• Repairs tissues as well as stimulates growth in children
• Plays an important role in weight control
• Controls your body temperature as well as reduces energy use
• Controls your brain function
If full sleep cycles including deep periods of REM (rapid eye movement) are not completed, it will interrupt the normal functioning of your body. Evidently the lack of sleep or sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes and stroke.
Although I knew about of the importance of sleep, the extent of long term damage of sustained sleep deficit didn’t really register until recently. Maybe it is linked to longevity and the desire to be available to my little one for as long as possible? Either way it is timely to review my sleeping practices and consider measures to claim back quality sleep. I thought my friend’s message around sleep deficit was a valuable discussion to have and therefore, I interviewed him in an upcoming podcast – keep an eye out for the launch.