Sleep Your Way to Success

Sleep may potentially be the most overlooked aspect of overall health, physical health and view of self image. People who habitually sleep for shorter periods are more at risk for a negative view of self image as compared to those who regularly get a full night of restful sleep. How amazing is it that we have the ability to increase self-confidence and view of our own bodies simply by sleeping more.

From a physiological standpoint, we are tearing down the body throughout the day whether it be by means of physical exercise, stress levels, or overexerting ourselves at work. As noted in The Big 3! everything is putting a stress on our systems, muscle fibers are broken down, adrenal stores that give us energy are being used up, and our brains are worn out due to high stimulus. Sleep helps to combat all of these regular systems. Sleep promotes Growth hormone release from the pituitary gland, which is responsible for overall repair of the body. Everything is affected from muscle rebuilding/growth, hair, skin and nail health, and longevity of health. The pituitary is also responsible for the restoring of the adrenal glands with help from the hypothalamus. With lack of sleep these organs do not function to their fullest potential leaving you with a repetitive state of less energy and risk of mental and physical injury. Water balance is also regulated during our sleep. Ever notice how on a sleepless night you wake up bloated and watery? This is because your body is protecting itself from the lack of sleep by holding onto extra water to use as hydration. With a full night of sleep this water is release because your body has repaired itself and no longer needs the additional water.

While all people are different, it is still recommended that the average working person get a minimum of 7-9 hours per sleep a night. Take into consideration a high dieting or workout phase, increased work hours, or additional mental stress on a project and the amount of sleep needed may increase a few additional hours. People often say, “oh well I only sleep 4-5 hours a night and I’m fine”. This often leads to burnout and inconsistencies during the day. One may argue the fact that less sleep equals more hours in the day for work, however the downside to that is that the productivity levels and efficiency of what is accomplished is far inferior to if a full night’s rest were had. Try increasing sleep and see how overall levels of productivity, muscle growth and fat loss are affected in a positive manner.

Be in Control of Your Body and Mind

It is truly incredible how in tune we as humans can be with our bodies. With our busy schedules, high levels of stress, and constant temptations being imprinted in our daily lives it is easy to not listen to what we need. As we are now approaching the end of the first week of the year people tend to slip right back into their old habits and tendencies and will power is tested strongly. A lot of failed resolutions and goals occur simply because we are not truly in the moment with ourselves. When given a high stress situation our naturalistic responses to protect ourselves are to eat, stay awake longer and over exerting ourselves whether physically or mentally. To better accomplish our goals when given a situation like that it is best to start by taking a few deep breaths. This grounds us and allows our thoughts to slow down. After doing so it becomes far easier to understand what we are needing, whether it be food, additional water or rest. Your body is constantly sending messages, even if it is that of satisfaction, so slow your thoughts, analyze what it is that you need, and then act on that. Do not ignore the fact that you are hungry or thirsty because that will lead to overconsumption later, as well as loss of performance in the now. By taking a moment to refuel with nutritious foods you will combat the sugar or salt cravings that come if you skip that meal. If you are running on empty while performing tasks, take a nap. Studies have shown that you are far more productive when given a nap as compared to pushing through fatigue. Obtaining your goals will become far easier and less stressful if you simply attune yourself to your needs and act on them in a smart and productive way.