It’s week two of your health kick and you’re on track for your after-work run, but then, the 3pm energy dip sets in, you start slowing down while simultaneously formulating excuses to abandon your workout, ditch your dinner plans with your friends and hit the sack early.
You feel crap for skiving on your workout and bailing on your mates, but sleeeeep awaits. Only, you can’t get to sleep.
What the!? It’s an ugly cycle that appears unshakable. And it’s all too common.
The reality is that poor quality sleep and sleep disorders negatively impact our physical and emotional health, including our mood, relationships, outlook, energy levels, concentration, performance, efficiency, productivity, safety, health and a whole lot more.
According to Flinders University’s Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, sleep issues are far and wide, and the two most common disorders – obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and insomnia – are costing the Australian economy well over $30 billion per year.
The light at the end of this sleep tunnel? If you understand your sleep patterns and the effects of compromised sleep, both mentally and physically, you’ll be a whole lot closer to turning a nightmare into a sleeping beauty.
Here’s the science backed sleep facts – and how you can use them to boost your efficiency and get great quality sleep.
The 7 to 9 rule: Determine exactly how much sleep you need every night
Get to know your sleep requirements and you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the rest. Countless research indicates that the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. Key word – ‘average’. Everyone is different. Some people require less, and others require more. If eight hours is your optimum functioning sleep time, GET IT!
If you don’t get your optimal time, be prepared for the short-term effects of sleep deprivation. This includes an impaired ability to concentrate, irritability, increased appetite, decreased energy, moodiness (which can cause relationship issues) and a lack of motivation (number one reason people fail their exercise goals).
If you continually burn the candle at both ends, you’ll build a sleep deficit and be a contender for the long term physical effects of sleep deprivation. These are not pretty. They include weight-gain, and increased risk of heart disease and depression. Similarly, because our immune system kicks into gear during specific sleep phases, mopping up any bad cells floating around our body, continual poor quality sleep can affect our immune system’s ability to do its job and consequently, our body’s ability to fight off colds, flu and other illnesses.
TIP: The Samsung Gear Sport helps you track the hours you rest, so you are in prime condition to be active the following day. It is also designed to track your fitness and diet on the smartwatch and in the Samsung Health app on your compatible smartphone, keeping you on the right path to reach your goals, and keeping you motivated to move more, eat better, and live a healthy life.
Your 9am wake-up call: Schedule exercise and meetings early
Ever hear of the ‘circadian rhythm’? It’s a fancy way of saying body clock. And everyone has one – even if you haven’t noticed. Tick, tock … here’s how it works: There are two natural peaks in our alertness – one at around 9am and the other at 9pm. The latter being what people typically refer to as their ‘second wind’. The former being a brilliant time to schedule exercise (or weekday meetings). Remember, exercise boosts endorphins and energy, so a few 9am jumping jacks could be just what you need to kick start a productive, creative and high performing day. Use these times to your advantage.
The 2pm siesta: Say sayonara to your arvo workout
The Spanish are famous for their afternoon siesta – and science backs up what they’ve known and responded to for eons. That, as a part of our circadian rhythm, our bodies naturally dip in alertness between 2-3pm – making an afternoon nap a brilliant idea. Make an effort to recognise your own biological dips in alertness and plan your day accordingly.
The second circadian rhythms’ dip in alertness occurs from about 11pm to 6am – the perfect time to sleep and let our bodies rest and recover.
Power nap: Recharge in 20 minutes
A 20 minute power nap is totally a legit thing – and science backs it up! How’s it work? Well, 20 minutes keeps you in the first (light) sleep phase, so when you wake, you wont wake groggy and lethargic, like you would if you were woken during REM sleep. So if you are deliriously tired after a crappy night sleep, allow yourself a 20 minute power nap. When you wake, do five minutes of star jumps or other exercise to kick start your brain and body.
Remember the 3 hour rule: Eat and exercise smart
While regular exercise and eating healthy nutrient-rich foods help the body heal and repair during the sleep cycle, eating and exercising within three hours of sleep time is a big no-no. Why? Exercise kicks your body into gear and eating kick-starts your digestive system, in order to break down the food. Instead, you should be allowing your body to enter the rest and recovery phase. Schedule exercise early and then have your evening meal, allowing three hours between food and sleep time.
Gear Sport is not a medical/therapeutic device. All functions and data provided are only for informational purposes. If sleep issues persist, ensure you speak to your GP, who can investigate sleep apnoea and other disorders.