We can probably count the number of people on one hand who aren’t a fan of hitting the hay. Despite this, the fact remains, too many of us are not getting enough sleep. Whether it’s that spiral down a series of pretty inconsequential YouTube videos, that ‘last episode’ of your favourite series or a poorly timed cup of coffee or pre-workout; many of us simply don’t get enough rest. Getting your 40 winks is important for physical, mental and social wellbeing. Keep scrolling to discover just how important a good night’s sleep is and how it can help you redefine your fitness levels.
Are you getting enough sleep?
The first step in making sure you get enough sleep, is ensuring we know what enough sleep means. The Sleep Health: The Journal of the National Sleep Foundation recently published its finding on the optimal durations for sleep, which are as follows:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours each day
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours each day
- Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours each day
- School age children (6-13 9-11 hours each day
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours each day
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours each day
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours each day
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours each day
As you can see, it’s possible to oversleep as well. A survey of nearly 25000 individuals outlined the risks associated with what has been referred to as ‘long sleep’. The study states that there is a greater likelihood to have psychiatric diseases (depression) and a greater body mass index (BMI), or suffer from obesity (Leger D. et al, 2014).
Risks of not getting enough sleep
According to the Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research, sleep deprivation has a diverse range of effects on the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems, including:
- Obesity in adults and children
- Diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance
- Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
- Risk of stroke
- Anxiety symptoms
- Depressed mood
- Alcohol use
What’s more, sleep deprivation also decreases the activity of protein synthesis pathways and increases the activity of degradation pathways, encouraging the loss of muscle mass and hindering muscle recovery (Datillo et al, 2011).
When you get the recommended hours of sleep, a number of essential bodily processes take place, which contributes to your muscle growth, recovery and overall wellbeing (Datillo et al, 2011) including:
- Moderating feeding behaviour
- Glucose regulation
- Blood pressure moderation
- Hormonal balance
- Protein synthesis
Damien Léger, François Beck, Jean-Baptiste Richard, Fabien Sauvet, Brice Faraut, The Risks of Sleeping “Too Much”. Survey of a National Representative Sample of 24671 Adults (INPES Health Barometer), PLoS One. 2014; 9(9): e106950., Published online 2014 Sep 16. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0106950
Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research; Colten HR, Altevogt BM, editors. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006. 3, Extent and Health Consequences of Chronic Sleep Loss and Sleep Disorders. *Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19961/
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