Struggling to get enough sleep is very common nowadays. In fact, a study by Aviva reveals that 16 million Brits suffer from sleepless nights, with two thirds of the population struggling with disrupted sleep.
Often, it’s because life gets in the way. When you have a lot on your plate, it can have an effect on all aspects of your life. But while some people can function with very little sleep, others come to rely on coffee, or energy drinks to give them a little boost. But depending on your morning coffee fix isn’t ideal, especially if you like to keep fit and healthy.
Getting enough sleep and exercise is key to living a healthy lifestyle. And while living a sedentary life can have a detrimental effect on your body, so can a distinct lack of sleep.
Depriving our body of the rest it needs can be just as harmful as overeating. In fact, long-term effects of sleep deprivation can lead to an increase as well as a higher risk of getting diabetes, heart disease, or having a stroke.
Of course, some may argue that even though they lack sleep, they do have enough energy to get through the day. But while this may make you feel okay, your body definitely isn’t when it comes to your performance. In fact, those who exercise more often (and more intensely) need more sleep than those who don’t — and science backs this up.
After all, sleeps role is to restore our body’s energy supply, so it’s intuitive that more rest equals more energy, right? While we’re well aware of this, what we don’t know is that sleep does more than just that. It also restores our immune and endocrine systems, the latter of which is responsible for key performance hormones like testosterone and human growth hormones throughout your body. It also regulates our brain function, which explains why we feel “brain dead” sometimes when we lack sleep. Moreover, studies have found that the dreamless non-REM sleep phase in particular is what increases protein synthesis and the mobilisation of free fatty acids to give us our energy, which also helps in muscle repair and recovery.
Sleep is so crucial to our body’s health and wellness that one study has even likened it to winning the lottery. The Telegraph reports that sleeping gives us a boost that’s similar to winning a £120,000 jackpot – in other words, our sleep quality is as beneficial to our health and happiness as winning the lottery. So can you imagine what an actual lottery win could do for your sleep? Even a small lottery such as the Irish Lotto, which Lottoland states has a jackpot of approximately €4 million (£3,500,000). Winning such a life-changing amount of money, would probably spell the end of your money worries. It’s well documented that financial worries are one of the main reasons why lots of people lose sleep at night fretting about how they can overcome these struggles. While winning the lottery may be out of reach for 99% of people, getting enough sleep is attainable; you’ve just got to be proactive about finding solutions to sleep woes.
That said, how should you go about getting enough rest at night and reaping all its benefits? How can you tackle your insomnia, our tiredness, and your disruptive sleep?
The answer might just be in exercise.
Our founder Steve Hoyles spreads the good news that just about any exercise can help you sleep better, whether it’s going for a jog with your dogs or joining Zumba classes with your neighbours — anything goes. This is a little ironic, considering that when your body suffers from lack of sleep, it takes a toll on your workout, but to get better sleep, you have to workout. It just comes full circle. Despite this, there are very real results. An experiment cited by Hoyles reveals that after working out for four months, troubled sleepers got an extra 85 minutes of sleep every night. While this may not seem like much, it’s a life-changing amount of rest for chronically sleep-deprived individuals.
To cut a long story short, if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation, don’t wait for your body to suffer, too. With such a hefty price tag on our sleep, exercising for a few minutes a day gives us a wealth of health — from extra shuteye to a better physique! The benefits are literally never ending.