MMB – Why Good Sleep is Important!

Good morning everyone,

I hope you had an awesome weekend and were able to get outside and move!  Great job to everyone who was able to make it out to classes this past week.  Let’s keep the momentum going with consistent work outs and clean eating! 



Announcements and Reminders:

  1. Fall Movement Mania is coming on Saturday, September 23rd!  The Fall Fitness Challenge is being replaced with the Fall Movement Mania and will incorporate new movement contests and drills!  Stay tuned for more details.
  2. Next Running Boot Camp is Sunday, September 17th!  Mark your calendars for another opportunity to combine running with strength and core drills! 


Thought for the week:  Why Good Sleep is Important

Lately, I’ve been bombarded with the understanding of how important good sleep is.  Throughout the years of training early morning clients, I can always tell if a person has had either a good night, or a bad night’s sleep.  If I’m training someone who is usually very strong and capable with excellent stamina and endurance, I’ll know within five minutes if they haven’t slept well.  Why?  Because they are fatigued, sluggish, foggy brained, and are really struggling to get through the work out.  Wow, lack of sleep is powerful stuff! 

It’s during those night time hours that our bodies repair cellular damage, balance hormones, improve immune function, and reduce inflammation.  If you are constantly in a state of sleep deprivation, you’ll begin to experience a whole host of symptoms such as GI imbalances and gut inflammation such as leaky gut, moodiness, fatigue throughout the day, lack of athletic performance, unable to hold chiropractic adjustments, and an increase risk of obesity.  Again….wow, that’s a lot of stuff linked to sleep deprivation!

Most recently, I’ve experienced all of this first hand with my younger son Ryan, who has been sleep deprived for weeks.  I’m currently working with a pediatrician, dentist, allergist, and chiropractor to get to the bottom of his sleep deprivation.  I won’t go into all of the details of this journey, but I can tell you his allergy testing confirmed he is highly allergic to dust and dust mites, so his nasal cavity and sinuses are totally inflamed and clogged.  So, my first order of business is to do everything I can to help him get a better night’s sleep so he is rested in the morning and ready to take on the day. 

Through a variety of techniques such as making his room more hypoallergenic, adding a HEPA filter, keeping windows shut, washing all bedding and stuffed animals, dusting thoroughly, and vacuuming, it is my hope that he will begin to sleep better and start to combat the host of symptoms he has as a result of not sleeping well.  I think many of us are walking around with undiagnosed allergies and aren’t aware of this as a potential culprit to sleep deprivation.  Think about it.  Do you have congestion?  Sneezing?  Sinus pressure?  Do you get clogged up when you lay down at night and therefore can’t sleep?  If so, please do yourself a favor and explore this so that you can also improve your sleep.  I’ll keep you all posted on my journey with my son and pass on what I learn through this process! 

Here are some tips and ideas to help you sleep better:

  1.  Take a hot shower right before bed.  The heat really helps to relax your muscles and prepare you to rest.
  2. Drink some herbal tea such as Chamomile and hour before bed. 
  3. Don’t watch intense news programs or violent crime type shows before bed. 
  4. Don’t play video games right before bed as these experiences increase adrenaline and excite the brain making it more difficult to sleep.
  5. Try reading in bed for a few minutes to help you fall asleep.
  6. Aim to go to bed around 10pm, so start preparing yourself 30 minutes beforehand.  Research shows that the hours we sleep before midnight are highly productive in getting us into REM sleep faster. 

For more information, here is a quick article I found from Heatlhline magazine highlighting the benefits of good sleep.  These are also helpful reminders:

10 Reasons Why Good Sleep is Important – written by Joe Leech, MS  June 4, 2017

A good night’s sleep is incredibly important for health.

In fact, it is just as important as eating healthy and exercising.

Unfortunately, the Western environment is interfering with natural sleep patterns.

People are now sleeping less than they did in the past, and sleep quality has decreased as well.

Here are 10 reasons why good sleep is important.

1. Poor Sleep Can Make You Fat

Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain.

People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep (1, 2).

In fact, short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.

In one massive review study, children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese, respectively (3).

The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be mediated by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise (4).

If you are trying to lose weight, getting quality sleep is absolutely crucial.

Bottom Line: Short sleep duration is associated with a drastically increased risk of weight gain and obesity, in both children and adults.

2. Good Sleepers Tend to Eat Fewer Calories

Studies show that sleep deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories.

Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation (2, 5).

This includes higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, and reduced levels of leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite (6).

Bottom Line: Poor sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite. Those who get adequate sleep tend to eat fewer calories than those who don’t.

3. Good Sleep Can Improve Concentration and Productivity

Sleep is important for various aspects of brain function.

This includes cognition, concentration, productivity and performance (7).

All of these are negatively affected by sleep deprivation.

A study on medical interns provides a good example.

Interns on a “traditional schedule” made 36% more serious medical errors than interns on a schedule that allowed more sleep (8).

Another study found short sleep can negatively impact some aspects of brain function to a similar degree as alcohol intoxication (9).

Good sleep, on the other hand, has been shown to improve problem solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults (10, 11, 12).

Bottom Line: Good sleep can maximize problem solving skills and enhance memory. Poor sleep has been shown to impair brain function.

4. Good Sleep Can Maximize Athletic Performance

Sleep has been shown to enhance athletic performance.

In a study on basketball players, longer sleep was shown to significantly improve speed, accuracy, reaction times, and mental wellbeing (13).

Less sleep duration has also been associated with poor exercise performance and functional limitation in elderly women.

A study of over 2,800 women found that poor sleep was linked to slower walking, lower grip strength, and greater difficulty performing independent activities (14).

Bottom Line: Longer sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance.

5. Poor Sleepers Have a Greater Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke

We know that sleep quality and duration can have a major effect on many risk factors.

These are the factors believed to drive chronic diseases, including heart disease.

A review of 15 studies found that short sleepers are at far greater risk of heart disease or stroke than those who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night (15).

Bottom Line: Sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

6. Sleep Affects Glucose Metabolism and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Experimental sleep restriction affects blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity (16, 17).

In a study of healthy young men, restricting sleep to 4 hours per night for 6 nights in a row caused symptoms of pre-diabetes (18).

This was then resolved after 1 week of increased sleep duration.

Poor sleep habits are also strongly linked to adverse effects on blood sugar in the general population.

Those sleeping less than 6 hours per night have repeatedly been shown to be at increased risk for type 2 diabetes (19, 20).

Bottom Line: Sleep deprivation can cause pre-diabetes in healthy adults, in as little as 6 days. Many studies show a strong link between short sleep duration and type 2 diabetes risk.

7. Poor Sleep is Linked to Depression

Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality and sleeping disorders.

It has been estimated that 90% of patients with depression complain about sleep quality ( 21).

Poor sleep is even associated with increased risk of death by suicide (22).

Those with sleeping disorders, such as insomnia or obstructive sleep apnea, also report significantly higher rates of depression than those without (23).

Bottom Line: Poor sleeping patterns are strongly linked to depression, particularly for those with a sleeping disorder.

8. Sleep Improves Your Immune Function

Even a small loss of sleep has been shown to impair immune function (24).

One large 2-week study monitored the development of the common cold after giving people nasal drops with the virus that causes colds (25).

They found that those who slept less than 7 hours were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more.

If you often get colds, ensuring that you get at least 8 hours of sleep per night could be very helpful. Eating more garlic can help too.

Bottom Line: Getting at least 8 hours of sleep can improve immune function and help fight the common cold.

9. Poor Sleep is Linked to Increased Inflammation

Sleep can have a major effect on inflammation in the body.

In fact, sleep loss is known to activate undesirable markers of inflammation and cell damage.

Poor sleep has been strongly linked to long-term inflammation of the digestive tract, in disorders known as inflammatory bowel diseases (26, 27).

One study observed that sleep deprived patients with Crohn’s disease were twice as likely to relapse as patients who slept well (28).

Researchers are even recommending sleep evaluation to help predict outcomes in sufferers of long-term inflammatory issues (27).

Bottom Line: Sleep affects the body’s inflammatory responses. Poor sleep is strongly linked to inflammatory bowel diseases and can increase the risk of disease recurrence.

10. Sleep Affects Emotions and Social Interactions

Sleep loss reduces our ability to interact socially.

Several studies confirmed this using emotional facial recognition tests (29, 30).

One study found that people who had not slept had a reduced ability to recognize expressions of anger and happiness (31).

Researchers believe that poor sleep affects our ability to recognize important social cues and process emotional information.

Take Home Message

Along with nutrition and exercise, good sleep is one of the pillars of health.

You simply can not achieve optimal health without taking care of your sleep.