Many health programs revolve around changing diet and exercise to improve overall wellness and longevity. However, many programs fail to include proper sleep as part of your health.
Sleep is a very important time for your body to recover from the previous day and to recharge you for the next day. Many different processes in the body are regulated during sleep including your metabolism, blood sugar levels, protein building, muscle recovery, hormone balancing, and immune system function. If these processes are disturbed night after night for a long time, it can contribute to your health being less than its best. Lack of proper sleep can affect your training regimen. Studies have shown a lack of sleep led to decreased running performance, strength, power, oxygen ventilation, sprint times, tennis serve accuracy, soccer kicking skills, and time to exhaustion.
The good news is that getting back to a healthy sleep schedule was shown to reverse the negative effects of sleep deprivation and return the body to a state of recovery and growth.
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Even if you feel good and are still productive with less than 7 hours, it is still likely stressing your body. Recommendations for improving sleep quality include waking up at the same time each day, having a bedtime routine to prepare for sleep like reading or taking a warm bath, avoiding caffeine and other stimulants after 2 pm, avoiding blue light from electronics 2 hours before bed, avoiding alcohol 2 hours before bed, and making sure your bedroom is dark. It is also good to get natural sunlight in the morning soon after waking up to set your circadian rhythm.
This cannot be achieved through glass, as it filters out the suns rays that set your circadian rhythm. 5 minutes of sunlight early in the morning is usually sufficient to achieve this and can help regulate your sleep cycle for better sleep. Time to get some sleep and meet your health goals!
Vitale KC, Owens R, Hopkins SR, Malhotra A. Sleep Hygiene for Optimizing Recovery in Athletes: Review and Recommendations. Int J Sports Med. 2019