Why is sleep important?
Lets take a look how sleep helps you and why lack of quality sleep makes you gain body fat.
Our bodies must experience so called deep sleep, not just regular sleep, to fully recover and meet demands of the day.
First type of deep sleep occurs in the first third of the night. During this stage, your body heals itself from workouts, you experience metabolic and tissue regeneration; this is the physical restoration stage of sleep. When you get enough of this deep sleep, you awake refreshed and ready to meet the day.
Second type of deep sleep takes place mostly during the last third of your night. This is the mental restoration stage of sleep. Most people often dream during this stage. When you get enough of this sleep, you think more quickly and creatively and are able to organize your thoughts better.
By not getting deep sleep, your body does not produce the hormones needed, for it to restore as mentioned above. You will not make gains from your workouts, recover from daily activity and worst mentally feel drained to do anything.
Second side effect is your body will start to produce cortisol hormone, which will through off your hormone balance killing your metabolism, the same way insulin hormone does from eating sugar. Making you gain body fat.
How much sleep do we need?
- Recommendation for sleep time is 7-9 hours, depending on the individual.
- Sleep cycles are 90 minutes long and the most satisfying sleep includes a set number of full cycles ideally, waking up in the middle of sleep cycles can make you feel groggy. Try for at least between four to five.
- If you feel good in the morning, you got enough sleep.
What can you do to get into deep sleep?
- Stop blue light from electronics like tv, phone, tablet, 1-2 hours before bed time. Even if you do fall asleep you may not get into deep sleep.
- Missing you bed time window, gives you a second wind from cortisol hormone kicking in and lowering your sleep hormones. Again even if you do fall asleep you may not get into deep sleep. It turns out that going to bed at the right time is one of the most important factors in getting good sleep. Pick the right bedtime for you and stick to it. Since most of us have a wake-up time that’s determined by kids or work, count backward in 90min(4-6 sleep cycles) you need from that wake-up time to find your real bedtime, the time when you should be turning off the lights.
- Caffeine after 2-3pm will also prevent you from getting into deep sleep
- While alcohol can make you sleepy but also keeps you from reaching the deep stages of sleep, dehydrates you, and awakens you in the middle of the night.
A study showed Vigorous exercisers had fewer sleep problems than moderate and light exercisers, including less difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, waking too early and not being able to fall back asleep. All exercisers reported fewer of these problems than people who did not exercise at all.