Have you considered if your sleep habits are undermining your efforts to look, feel, and perform your best?
A 2017 review and meta-analysis of 153 studies with over 5 million people found short sleep duration to be significantly associated with mortality, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart disease, and obesity (1).
Poor sleep been been linked to depression (2), anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (3), cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer’s (4), dysregulated immune response (5), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (6), mood disorders (7), and systemic inflammation (8).
Sleep restriction has been shown to increase appetite and caloric intake, impair insulin sensitivity and glucose control, and promote weight gain and loss of lean mass (9).
Sleep deprivation has been shown to impair attention, focus, working memory, risk/reward processing, impulsivity, emotional processing, and learning (10).
Poor sleep also negatively affects the mental and physical aspects of exercise and sports performance (11).
How can you make sure you’re getting plenty of high-quality sleep?
Set a bedtime that allows for 7 hours of sleep, establish a relaxing bedtime routine, keep your bedroom quiet, comfortable, and cool, and use your bed only for sleep and sex (12).
Practice good sleep hygiene – get regular exercise, manage stress, reduce noise, set a consistent bedtime, and avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and daytime napping (13).
Get plenty of bright light early and throughout the day, while minimizing bright light – especially from artificial lighting, smartphones, and screens – at night (14).
If you must use screens at night, consider wearing amber-colored blue light blocking glasses for 2 hours before heading to bed (15).
Make sure you’re eating enough, and consider increasing your protein and carbohydrate, especially if you’re physically active (16).
You don’t have to take all of these steps at once.
You can try just one at a time if you’d like.
If you find it helpful, keep it up.
If not, let it go.
Find what works for you.
It may take time.
It will be worth it.
You’ve got this.