Lifestyle, Humour, Health & Mindset

Turn Down for What

Dear Lil John, I will tell you ‘for what’ I will ‘turn down’.

I will undoubtedly ‘turn down’ for a good nights sleep instead of staying up late on a Friday or Saturday night. I will also ‘turn down’ to polish off an entire season of Suits on Netflix. I will even ‘turn down’ in preparation for a good early morning workout. To be serious…I never really ‘turn up’.

I enjoy your song none-the-less, but I just thought I would provide an answer to your question.


Turnt down

Sleep….it’s undeniably one of THE most important factors when it comes to performance, recovery and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sleep influences energy, attention, daytime sleepiness, inflammation and hormone regulation. It’s also the one thing that we sacrifice and overlook the most. It’s an area in our life where we tend to take liberties and hope to get away with the bare minimum.

There are just not enough hours in the day!!! For example, I would currently like to be napping, but instead I am using this rare moment of free time to write this blog post about getting more sleep… seems a little ironic.

How much sleep do we actually need?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. However, the majority of adults sleep approximately 6 hours, and I am pretty certain that new parents , shift workers and insomniacs get a lot less than that! So, since the majority of humans sleep less than the recommended amount and seem to be functioning decently, what is really necessary? This, kind of depends on your goals. #learntobeasuperathletehere

sleepy5Sleep debt – can we pay back the debt?
“Sleep debt theory predicts that the negative effects from the first six nights of minimal sleep would be largely reversed by the last three nights of catch-up sleep.” – Forbes  Meaning, we could sleep very little during the week and repay our debt by getting more sleep on the weekend. #hurray

Unfortunately, the markers that improve with ‘catch up’ sleep, are not the important ones. Attention levels do not return to normal after sleep deprivation and that is a key indicator in performance. So, to summarize, consistent sleep is more beneficial for performance than longer bouts of catch-up sleep.

This cracker takes sleep where she can get it!
This cracker takes sleep where she can get it!

Sleep & performance?
There are literally thousands of studies that outline the importance of sleep on performance. Sleep has become such an important factor in athletics that professional sports teams hire sleep experts, study their athlete’s circadian rhythms and re-schedule travel to better align with athletes getting sufficient sleep.

In studies from Standford University, the swim and basketball teams were able to increase sprint times, set new records and increase performance on all levels by simply increasing the amount of sleep they were getting.

“Teams that traditionally have practiced twice a day perform better skipping the morning practice if it allows athletes to get enough sleep than sticking with two sessions, says Maas, a former fellow, professor and chairman of psychology at Cornell University. But the big benefits don’t take place until somewhere around the seventh hour of sleep, he says, an hour many athletes and casual exercisers are missing out on,” – Huff Post, Sleep and athletic performance

I could also touch on circadian rhythm and finding out when your performance peak is…but I will save that for another day, this is already getting out of hand!!!

Sleepy Jess
Little J takes a post workout recovery nap

Sleep & Recovery?
When we sleep our bodies recover and build back the muscle that we break down when we exercise. If you are failing to see adequate gainzzz, perhaps sleep is the culprit? #sleepforgainz

People go to great lengths to get their hands on HGH…but look no further, we create HGH when we sleep. If you miss out on adequate rest you miss out on the chance to reap the undeniable benefits of this hormone.

The body releases HGH while it sleeps, and the prime time for growth hormone release is during slow wave sleep (SWS), which is the phase when the brain waves are mostly in delta. The old saying, “You grow while you sleep,” is perfectly true, and we could all do better to pay more heed to this bit of age old wisdom.”

Sleep & weight loss?
Prolonged sleep deprivation increases the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is responsible for things such as glucose metabolism, inflammatory response, blood pressure regulation and immunity. All things that will cause fat storage, sluggishness and illness.

Lack of sleep also increases the production of the hormone Ghrelin – which is the hormone responsible for making us hungry. When we are sleepy or feel exhausted, we are more likely to make poor life choices with our diet, reach for snacks high in carbohydrates or hit that afternoon loaf. I could go on and on here…but I think you get the idea. Sleep = skinny

sleepy timeNap time bitches –
We have heard of 20 minute power naps…and it’s true, even a 20-40 minute nap can improve cognitive alertness and well being. If you can hit a 60-90 minute nap, even better. At this point we are able to get into REM sleep, which is deep enough to provide significant benefits. Naps improve attention, learning, alertness, memory, creativity, productivity and mood. BOOM!



Some things to consider – 

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3 thoughts on “Turn Down for What”

  • If I skipped a workout every time I needed a better sleep, I would never workout!! Sore muscles keep me awake at night 😛

    • Hmmm.

      What kind of supplements do you take Quinn? I am sure you have read up on all sorts of things.

      Do you take creatine? BCAA’s? Cal/Magnesium? Fish Oil? The company Onit makes a sleep aid that works pretty well. Perhaps try incorporating some hot yoga into your ritual?

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