Sleep your secret weapon to health and fitness Do’s and Don’ts of sleep

Sleep we never seem to get enough right? Well, you may not be far from the truth with that. How much is enough? What happens when we don’t get enough? How can we get more? These are the questions running through many of your minds right now. Well, I am going to try and address these any many more today in my post so hold tight and let’s talk sleep.


Ok, let’s first examine what happens when we don’t get enough sleep and the effects it has on the body. Insufficient sleep causes changes in more than 700 genes in the human body according to one study on sleep.

The Brain is affected by sleep loss as well.  Lack of sleep can cause anxiety, poor judgement,  reduced creativity and grogginess are all results of sleep.  The brain processes the day’s events while we sleep and makes judgements and decisions about our role in our world during this time and interrupting this can cause anxiety, stress and depression. according to research done at the University of Arizona.

The eyes are affected too by sleep deprivation. If you are getting less than 6 hours sleep you have triple the risk of having an accident while driving.  If you are sleep deprived your body takes mico sleeps where your eyes are closed for a tiny moment frequently and you may not even realize that you are nodding off.Dr. Rafael Pelayo from the Stanford Sleep Center recommends pulling over if you feel drowsy because you could fall asleep at any time unexpectedly. Even if you don’t nod off your more easily distracted and your hand-eye coordination is severely degraded.


Your heart is not immune to the effects of not getting sufficient sleep. Lack of sleep has been tied to hypertension and high blood pressure. Another factor is the body regenerated it’s cells while you sleep and since the blood vessels and the circulatory system requires a lot of this lack of sleep can adversely affect your cardiovascular health.

Another system that is harmed by not getting enough sleep is the immune system. Even a single night of poor sleep increases inflammation in the body. This not only can increase the chances of getting sick but also increases the risk of heart disease diabetes and obesity.  A person that gets at least seven hours sleep has a much-reduced chance of these conditions than a person who gets less than six.

You Pancreas also problems with low amounts of sleep. In as short a period of time as a week can cause your body to show the signs of being prediabetic. Your glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity are reduced. Some research has shown that sleeping only four or five hours a night might increase the risk of diabetes  as much as 16%

Much research has indicated that your appetite is affected and that men who slept only four hours a night for two consecutive nights had a 24% increase in their appetite and craved high carb foods that are calorie dense. Insufficient sleep can be a factor in weight gain partly because we don’t think as clearly when overtired and can make poor food choices. The levels of two hormones called Leptin (which signals full) and ghrelin (which tells us when we are hungry) are disrupted by poor sleep as low levels of sleep have been shown to cause as much as an 18% decrease in Leptin and a 28% increase in ghrelin.


Eliminate tech 30 minutes before bed as blue light inhibits sleep or use a screen filter app

Have a bedtime routine and stick to it,

Establish a sleep schedule of bedtime and wake up

Don’t eat dinner too late and don’t over do it as digestion can affect sleep

lower the thermostat most people have optimal sleep temperature between 60 – 67

avoid evening alcohol as it can disrupt your sleep while the body metabolizes it

Try meditation or deep breathing for five minutes so so before bed to relax and create calmness

don’t drink coffee after 2 pm if you have trouble sleeping as caffeine is  stimulant


Research shows that blue light, particularly from LCD screens, adversely affects sleep. This caused because Melanopsin photoreceptor is sensitive to blue light in a narrow band and that affects Melatonin production which is the main hormone for body regeneration and sleep cycles.  Science has shown that reading on a tablet or phone for a couple hours before bed can affect sleep by an as much as an hour.


There are 5 levels of sleep 1 to 4 and then REM, or Rapid Eye Movement, that the body goes through and it takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes for this cycle to complete and then it repeats.  Whether you wake refreshed or groggy it depends on which level of sleep you are in when woken up. the deeper the level the harder it is to wake up and the more disoriented you are.


your mood will swing all over the place

your appetite will increase sharply

your brain will feel fuzzy

your heart may be affected

your metabolism will slow

your skin will look less healthy

your immune system will be degraded

athletic performance and endurance will be reduced


For optimal performance, to feel your best and be healthier it is recommended to get between seven and eight hours of sleep. This will also aid in being fitter and will help with weight loss. So now you know a bit more about your sleep and it’s importance so let’s get counting those sheep. Sleep well and have a good one until we met again.

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