Optimal Sleep and Your Body
Sleep: It’s what your body craves
Sleep is integral to healthy mental and physical functioning. Adequate sleep improves emotional/stress coping, cognitive processes, hormone regulation, insulin sensitivity, fat loss and body fat regulation, fine motor accuracy, gross motor skills, and psycho-motor skills. Contrary to the standard 7-8 hours of sleep recommendation, optimal sleep is likely ~10 hours per night for the average individual.
Obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol are more prevalent among irregular sleepers. Shift workers are particularly susceptible to an increased risk of metabolic disorders due to irregular sleep patterns. It is important to establish a sleep pattern that is consistent across both the traditional work week and weekend. Extra sleep following a poor night’s sleep does not fully mitigate sleep loss’s effects. It takes multiple days of extended/regular sleep to attenuate previous losses in sleep quality and quantity. Engaging in resistance exercise, at any time of day, is advantageous for all populations as it is likely to improve sleep quality.
By understanding sleep, its benefits, and the costs of sleep loss, one can make efforts to optimize their health and performance. Along with the aforementioned resistance training, the following video lists the top methods for improving the quantity and quality of your sleep.
Quality Sleep Tips
The present study observed increased hunger, food cravings, food reward, and portion sizes of food after a night of modest sleep loss. These mal-adaptive responses could lead to higher energy intake and, ultimately, weight gain.
Contrary to the much touted “7-8 hours per night” recommendation, humans may require upwards of 10 hours to achieve optimal sleep duration.
Although timing of resistance exercise (RE) does not seem to statistically impact sleep stages or nocturnal blood pressure, these data indicate that engaging in RE at any time of the day may improve quality of sleep as compared with no RE.
The studies reviewed here do not support the hypothesis that evening exercise negatively affects sleep, in fact rather the opposite. However, sleep-onset latency, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency might be impaired after vigorous exercise ending ≤1 hour before bedtime.
Poor sleep quality is associated with an increase in total body fat, but not specifically a higher amount of visceral adipose tissue.
Sleep restriction affects the amount of fat loss when in a hypo-caloric diet. Not only does a person lose more lean mass relative to fat mass, but fasting Leptin levels are also negatively affected.
Sleep extension was associated with improved direct and indirect measures of insulin sensitivity, decreased leptin and peptide tyrosine-tyrosine, and reductions in overall appetite, desire for sweet and salty foods, intake of daily free sugar, and percentage of daily caloric intake from protein.
Increased variability in sleep duration and timing was associated with higher prevalence and incidence of metabolic abnormalities even after considering sleep duration and other lifestyle factors.
Psycho-motor skills, sport-specific fine accuracy, and gross motor skills (such as endurance and power) are all negatively affected when an athlete experiences sub-optimal sleep.