Why Is Sleep So Important?

One of the most underutilized methods of recovery and regeneration is adequate sleep. In this blog post I will discuss some of the key reasons a good night's sleep is critical for optimal physical condition and mental performance!

The key driver behind our sleeping pattern is an internally controlled pattern called a ‘Circadian Rhythm’.

The Circadian Rhythm is a 24 hour cycle that regulates our internal systems, highly influenced by external factors [1] - primarily daylight exposure - to allow our body to adapt as best as possible to the world around us. In relation to sleep all the external stimuli that surround us at almost any time of the day with the artificial lights in our homes and on our smartphones has been shown to have a negative effect on sleeping patterns. The primary way in which this artificial light reduces the quality of your sleep is by suppressing the production of melatonin - a hormone triggered by exposure to dark/light and critical to your ability to sleep well.

Negative effects of Poor Sleeping Habits

There are several negative outcomes associated with poor sleeping habits, below are just a few!

Inhibits Weight Loss

Lack of sleep can affect your body in many ways but I will start with one of the ways in which a lack of sleep can interfere with the good work that you may be doing in the gym.

A lack of adequate sleep is linked to obesity and weight gain and there a number of reasons behind this.

Studies have shown that those who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation have altered levels of ‘hunger hormones’ leptin and ghrelin - compared to those who have a regular and sufficient sleep cycle. [2]

‘Ghrelin’ is the hormone that makes you feel hungry and ‘Leptin’ is the hormone that makes you feel full. When sleep decreases your body compensates by increasing ghrelin levels and decreasing leptin levels - making you feel hungrier and making it harder for you to resist the cravings for extra food and therefore, extra calories.