Archive for April 2013

Sleep – are you getting enough?

If you fall asleep in less than 5 minutes of going to bed, you are very likely sleep deprived. Seems that 10-15 minutes of relaxing before falling asleep is ideal. See 40 sleep facts from the largest Australian national sleep survey ever done.
woman sleeping
Women need more sleep than men, the evidence is mounting up that this is a fact rather than fiction. It not just the grumpiness that our closest and dearest have to put up with, the latest study by Duke University (video summary) shows how women suffer more than men, both mentally and physically from lack of sleep. As well as a higher risk of heart disease, depression and psychological problems, sleep-deprived women have extra clotting factors in their blood, which can lead to a stroke. They also have higher inflammation markers, which indicate developing health problems. As inflammation markers are also linked to pain, sleep expert Dr Michael Breus explained that women can literally be in more pain when they wake up.

While women seem to be particularly susceptible to the effects of lack of sleep, not getting enough sleep can be detrimental in many ways for us all:
- fatigue leads to accidents, hurts the learning process, causes forgetfulness and impairs judgement
- sleep deprivation can lead to multiple health issues including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure
- lack of sleep can lead to depression and poor sex drive
- lack of sleep can cause weight gain and damage skin
- lack of sleep or poor sleep quality reduces our aerobic and anaerobic performance and strength therefore directly impacting our sports performance

We all need quality shut eye to recover from the days stresses and let the body rest and heal during the sleep. This is particularly important for athletes who also need adequate sleep to recover and adapt from exercise.

If you don’t manage to get enough sleep at night, try taking strategic naps. However, Dr Breus warns that those naps should be either 25 minutes or 90 minutes long. Any other length will make the snoozer feel worse when they wake, he says.

More on this subject later as it is one of the most important things to get right. After all, we spend nearly third of our life under the covers!

See also my later post on More on benefits of sleep