Why We Need 7-9 Hours of Sleep Each Night
Updated: Nov 5, 2021
Point to Ponder:
Are you getting enough high-quality sleep each night?
The purpose of today’s journal is to encourage you to make high-quality sleep a priority so you can feel your best throughout your holidays and beyond. I know we all agree that sleep is important, but it’s actually more than important, it’s critical. This journal will only scratch the surface of why sleep is so important, but for starters, sleep effects everything from our immune system, our mood, our ability to focus, the food we choose, our metabolism and our body's ability to recover and rejuvenate.
For example, consider LeBron James, the highest paid athlete in the world. He takes his sleep extremely seriously and treats it as important as his training. According to Forbes Magazine, LeBron explained that getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night is the best way for his body to physically and emotionally be able to recover and get back to 100 percent as possible. He’s not the only professional athlete who feels this way. According to ESPN, tennis star Roger Federer gets a similar amount of shut eye a night. By comparison, the fastest human alive Usain Bolt, tennis stars Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova each sleep 10 hours a day. Usain Bolt says sleep helps his body absorb his training better, but we all know that getting high-quality sleep is easier said than done, however there are some tips. Back to LeBron James, his three tips are:
1. Create an environment that allows you to be very comfortable in your room. For LeBron, it’s always in his hotel room, making sure the temperature’s set at a particular 68 to 70 degrees.
2. No television or smartphone light is also key. Along these same lines, iGnite Leader and now Health and Life Coach, Sarah Hamilton, reminded me of the importance of a Power Down Hour that she learned from Dr. Mark Hyman and Matthew Walked. Power Down Hour means no blue light/screen time within an hour of bedtime. So, if our goal is to shut our eyes and go to sleep at 10 pm, then there needs to be no more screen time after 9:00. Screens such cell phones, TV's, and computers restrain the melatonin production in our bodies and mess up our circadian rhythm. When the brain sees light it thinks it's day time and interferes with melatonin production which then affects our circadian rhythm. And even though we are no longer cavemen depending on the sun to tells us that it''s time to get up and the dark to tell us when to got to sleep, our bodies are still affected by light. Lower melatonin levels makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. It can be helpful to set a reminder alarm in your phone when it's time to power down each night. And if someone wonders what in the world they will do without their phone or computer… a relaxing bath, cup of camomile tea, facial, or good book or combination of all of those are great ways to relax during that hour and be ready to fall asleep.
Forbes also wrote: "As a review article published in the February 2015 issue of Sports Medicine indicated, while sleep deprivation may not necessarily affect some general athletic abilities such as maximal physical effort and gross motor performance, it can negatively impact various sports-specific skills, the autonomic nervous system, immune system function, and thinking ability, which in turn can affect athletic performance. Sleep gives the body and mind opportunity to rejuvenate. For example, a study in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics found that adolescents who had chronic sleep deprivation were more likely to get injured. Moreover, you probably know how disoriented you can feel after going through a sleepless night. In a study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, sleep-deprived subjects had impairments such as slower responsiveness similar to those occurring after drinking alcohol. Indeed, a study of Stanford basketball players showed how getting more sleep helped improve their sprint times, shooting accuracy, vigor, and physical and mental well-being during practices and games.”
Fascinatingly, sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain. When you are tired, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite and increase your desire for carbohydrates. (Carbohydrates = bread, crackers, desserts, anything sugary. When carbohydrates are not burned, they turn to sugar which turns to fat)
Sleep can reduce levels of stress, and with that people can have better control of their blood pressure. It’s also believed that sleep affects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.
A lack of sleep can contribute to depression. A good night’s sleep can help a moody person decrease their anxiety. You get more emotional stability with good sleep. Sleep cannot be primarily made up on the weekends. If you sleep more on the weekends, you simply aren’t sleeping enough in the week.
All in all, our body is our vehicle. Our habits and the way we treat our vehicle determine what we drive: a Porsche or Pinto. Disciplining ourselves to get consistent high-quality sleep, regular exercise and proper nutrition is what will keep our vehicle looking and driving as good as a new Porsche.
Make high-quality sleep each night a priority by implementing the Power Down Hour. *The quality of your sleep is better than the quantity of your sleep*