A woman with an eyemask on sleeps soundly on her back with her arm folded over

I always find that people tend to boast about how little sleep they got:

Almost as a mark of hard work, being up all-night working, or socialising, or even just watching the TV. I am a little bit different. I like to boast about how much sleep I get where 8 hours is the absolute minimum, and 10-12 hours is a good night.

There are many health benefits linked to sleep.

If your current health and fitness goals are related to losing weight, maybe your diet and exercise routine is on point, but you are still not seeing any results, take a look at your sleep. Poor sleep is associated with weight gain, this is mostly because it causes a hormone imbalance, but it can also affect your motivation to exercise.

  • Increase your sleep duration and half an hour of exercise a day could turn into an hour.
  • On the flip side, good sleepers tend to eat fewer calories.
  • Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones.
  • Poor sleep can increase your ghrelin hormone, which is the hormone that tells you, you are hungry and reduces leptin which is the hormone which suppresses your appetite and tells you that you are full.

Sleep is often neglected as a form of medicine:

It affects your glucose metabolism and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is because sleep restriction affects your blood sugar and reduces insulin sensitivity.
People who sleep less than 6 hours per night have been shown to be at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. So, if you are pre-diabetic, use sleep as your medicine.

Now for the good stuff. Do you feel like you want to get more out of your day? Do you feel like you want to put more into your exercise routine?

Guess what I am going to say? Increase your sleep duration. That is right, sleep is associated with increased concentration and productivity, and increased athletic performance.
The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours, if you sleep for 9 hours, you have not wasted time, you are achieving much more than you think you are.

Have you heard the saying “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”? If I were you, I would not live by that rule!

So, what can you do to improve your sleep?

  • Increase bright light exposure during the day. If you work inside, make sure you are working near a window where you have access to some natural light. And get outside! Before work, during your lunch break, after work. There are many opportunities you can utilise to get outside.
  • Reduce blue light exposure in the evening. Blue reduces melatonin, the hormone which helps you sleep. Turning off screens an hour before bed can significantly help your sleep.
  • Do not consume caffeine past 12pm.
  • Try to sleep and wake at consistent times. Make your sleep a routine, even at weekends! Give yourself an hour either side, so if during the week you wake up at 7am, make it a priority to wake up at the latest 8am on weekends.

Happy sleeping people. Get boasting.