SWW™ Sleep 101

Sleep 101

The one thing we ALL have in common is our need for sleep. It’s a fundamental part of life. We simply cannot exist without it. There’s a reason you feel terrible when you don’t sleep enough or your sleep quality is poor. The human body requires ample sleep to fire on all cylinders. It lets your body recover from the day and is when you regenerate neurons, process/develop memories, and resynthesizes muscle tissue. In short, sleep is responsible for your quality of life. Let’s dive a little deeper into the science of slumber so you can make your nights all the more restful.  

How much sleep do we need?  

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommends between seven and nine hours of sleep. The amount of sleep your body needs can vary daily based on your stress and activity levels. The more active and/or stressed you are, the more sleep you need. Your quality of sleep also counts here. You’re better off with seven good, uninterrupted hours of deep sleep than nine hours of poor sleep. Furthermore, according to the Canadian National Sleep Foundation, under sleeping can lead to mistakes in the workplace, lessened psychomotor performance, and an increased risk of car accidents. 

Stress and Sleep

If your stress response is on overdrive, your body will produce more cortisol, making it difficult to fall asleep. This then directly lowers your serotonin and GABA levels. Serotonin is your feel-good neurotransmitter, allowing for a balanced and healthy mood. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps your brain feel less overly stimulated and more calm. The lack of these makes it very difficult to enter that deep sleep state where we burn fat and repair muscles. Effective weight loss is now nearly impossible.

The double-edged sword with cortisol is if you are sleep-deprived, your body produces even more to keep you awake throughout the day.  Another way to curb cortisol production is to say no to sugary and processed foods before bed. These spike your blood sugar and cause poor rest, leading to even more cortisol coursing through your veins the next day, which can lead to even more sugar cravings. Everything about stress and cortisol when it comes to sleep is a vicious cycle. 

The Benefits of Sleep

Let’s put it this way: you could live the absolute healthiest life in your waking hours, but if you aren’t sleeping well, you’re not doing yourself any favors. 

Sleep allows you to:  

  • Burn calories 
  • Curb hunger 
  • Look less puffy 
  • Improve concentration 
  • Form memories 
  • Support your immune system 
  • Promote growth and tissue repair
  • Lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes 
  • Boost your mood 

SWW™ is big on how you recover; sleep is the cornerstone of that process. A good wind-down routine can help you lull off to a deeper, more efficient sleep. Seeing how weight loss is directly tied to being well-rested, this is not an area to avoid.  Good nutrition and movement are monumentally important, but you are not getting the full benefits of your daytime routine unless you cap them off with a solid seven to nine hours of sleep.