Sleep impacts more than most think – attention, mood, cognitive functions, the list is enormous.
Sleeping serves more functions than one could reasonably list on a page and for that reason, we’re going to focus on the main attributes related to this article: recovery and health.
This free ability is vital in helping us stay alert, vigilant, focused, and attentive.
For many people, sleep is a nuisance that most don’t want to be bothered with. Claiming they have too little time or too much to do, resulting in not getting enough proper sleep.
Lack of sleep can result in many negative effects – higher stress, more susceptible to injuries, lack of growth, and more.
A study done surrounding sleep deprivation came to the conclusion that those who were sleep deprived, reacted to low-level type stressors that same way those who had sufficient sleep reacted to high-level stressors.
What does this mean?
Those who didn’t have enough sleep were much less emotionally stable than those who had sufficient sleep, resulting in poor decision making and lack of cognitive functions.
A number of negative side effects can begin to show when a person becomes sleep deprived.
After multiple nights of not enough sleep, accidents and catastrophes are much more likely to occur.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO I NEED?
The magic question: How much sleep do I need?
That number varies from person to person, but many studies have shown that when the number (in hours) of sleep drops below 7, negative side effects begin to appear.
As that number begins to drop lower, more and more negative effects begin to overtake the body.
Many studies have been conducted and found that the average human should be receiving 7-7 ½ hours of sleep, nightly.
However, what this study leaves out is the importance of what that person is doing during the day.
The average athlete or high-exercise person must commit more time to sleep because of its beautiful effects on recovery.
These people should be getting 9-10 hours of sleep, every night.
How Does Sleep Affect Recovery?
As we all know, those who are active in their daily lives, the more you do, the more your body breaks down.
From high training loads to competitive stress, your body is constantly being broken down and needs to rebuild itself.
That rebuilding begins during sleep.
As noted prior, the average human needs 7-7 ½ hours of sleep a night. What that study didn’t account for was, what that person was doing in their daily routine.
Another article was published and found that elite athletes who train 4-6 hours a day may require upwards of 10-12 hours of sleep. (quote)
Improved sleep and proper sleep cycles are key to adequate recovery after heavy training sessions. Sleep even has the ability to enhance restoration processes of physiological and psychological states.
Mindset and Stress
Mindset is the biggest factor in our daily lives and stress will inevitably pull you down.
It is and will always be one of the biggest hurdles that many deal with.
Being able to think positively going into any situation can make all the difference on the outcome. Having a positive or poor mindset in any situation or experience can often lead to success or failure.
During such tumultuous times, we’ve heard that stress and poor mindsets have reached all time highs.
Due to constant fear-mongering, political distress, and countless other negative articles – people have found themselves fearful of things that may not even exist in their lives.
Not to say these events aren’t occurring or a public issue, but for most people, these events and tragedies have nothing to do with our lives and truthfully, will never affect us.
DEALING WITH STRESS
The best and most important tip I can give is to cut off all negative publications, i.e. news, stories, headlines, etc.
Anything that is pushing negative content onto the consumer should be blocked out completely.
By cutting off all negative sources, we have eliminated the brain from receiving this content. When the brain doesn’t see something for an extended period of time, it forgets it.
Replace these negative publications such as murders, robbings, and riots with something more positive and graceful.
When you switch your brain from receiving dark and negative sources to positive and light content, your mindset will follow suit.
It’s very important to focus on the good and the things we have control over than those that we don’t.
For example, we can focus on what we do day to day, rather than what is being portrayed on the news and social media of others doing day to day.
We can focus on helping others in need, rather than thinking about all the injustices in the world.
Focus on the future and how much better it will be than the present moment, whether it may be good or not.
These times have been filled with stress and hardship on most.
Many people have lost their jobs, income, gotten sick and lost family members.
This all leads to stress on the human body and can cause more sickness and negative health effects than we previously had.
The constant stress and worrying about events will ultimately lead to more issues and complications in the long run.
This is a vital time in all of our lives to let go of the stress that we’re dealing with, not allowing it to run into all areas of our lives, and controlling our emotions and reactions.
As talked about earlier, sleep can and always will be a phenomenal way to reduce stress.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED.
We learned earlier that those who are sleep deprived react to low-stress scenarios as if they were considered high-stress.
Sometimes it’s ideal to take a step back and think, “Is this really a stressful situation or am I just sleep deprived and making a small situation seem bigger than it is”?
Sleep is key to having a rested mind and being able to analyze all situations with equanimity and peace.
Other factors that may increase your stress include: nutrition, worrying, lack of exercise, lack of water, etc.
Many of these factors could be controlled by our own actions.
Eating healthier, mediating, exercising more, drinking more water, and so on.
Having a positive mindset and low stress will help push yourself forward, in all areas of life.
LIFESTYLE DIET AND NUTRITION
Your lifestyle is a major factor when it comes to overall well-being, general mindset, stress levels, and exercise efficiencies.
Lifestyle is exactly what the word represents – what you do, who you are, and how you live your life.
A poor lifestyle will surely enhance all of the negative side effects we spoke of earlier, related to poor sleep, stress, poor nutrition, injuries, etc.
It’s imperative that you cultivate a good, clean lifestyle and make it one of the more important areas of your life to allow yourself to function at your best possibility daily.
This means – no smoking, consumption of alcohol, negative content, etc.
When you get all of these things in order, that is your lifestyle and your lifestyle is what you represent, show to the world, and how you present yourself.
Your lifestyle should be one you love and cherish, inevitably resulting in more successes and achievements.
Diet is one of the major keys to living a good, healthy lifestyle.
Focus on what we’re putting into our bodies, especially when it comes to food.
The food you eat and consume, fuels your body. It give you the proper nutrients and capabilities to heal your body from constantly breaking down.
When you consume the wrong foods, loaded with additives and sugars – your body is more prone to become stressed and fatigued.
This will hurt your sleep, recovery, mindset, and stress.
There are many foods that have been noted to help the healing process, accelerate recovery times and benefit the human body in many ways, for example the ACAI BERRY.
There are many other foods and beverages on the market place that add benefits to the human body, one we love so much is COFFEE.
Check out the links above to read articles regarding the important aspects of the ACAI Berry & Coffee!
The lowest on the list, but definitely not the least important.
Too many people are putting exercise at the top of their list and are putting themselves at risk for different kinds of injuries, burnout, or not getting the results that they want. Putting too much effort into exercising and training regimens without the proper sleep, recovery, mindset, and lifestyle is a sprint to a destination you don’t want to be.
There are thousands of articles and publications regarding the importance of exercise, training, running, etc.
However, what many of those articles fail to preach is the importance of all the other factors that you’ve implemented in your lifestyle!
Exercise is so low on the list because with too much exercise and not enough recovery, sleep, or nutrition – you’re bound to burn out, get injured, or simply stop.
If you exercise too much and that’s all you focus on, you’re inevitably going to get hurt and then you won’t be able to exercise!
It’s imperative to your longevity that you break your exercises down, make sure you don’t do too much too quick, and recover adequately.
If you stay on the track of doing too much too soon, it’s not going to end well.
You have to exercise smart, efficient, and with the idea that you’re going to be doing these activities for the rest of your life.
When it comes to exercise and training, it must be looked at as a marathon and not a sprint.
The reason being is that a marathon will go the long distance and over time, accomplish more. The sprinter will run a quick few laps and then tire out and if they keep pushing, will lead to injury, putting them even further behind.
Everything must be looked at from a marathon perspective and not a sprint.
The one who gets the best results, is the one who’s been doing it the longest.
They know their body inside and out, what works and what doesn’t.
Being on a marathon allows you to see what is appropriate for your body and where you need improvements.
Constantly sprinting and simply trying to beat your previous time or get somewhere before another, will lead to desperation, cutting corners, and not thinking about the long-term effects of the stress and pain you’re putting on your body.