Two things happened today - first, my 16 year old told me she was sick and she has a swim meet tomorrow. I told her to go back to bed. On a school day.
I shared my own experience with sleep and miraculous recoveries
I used to travel a lot. Planes, hotels, buses, cars, couches, bars, squats in France and Holland, dark clubs in Bristol, barns in Iowa. In the middle of one trip I was in Paris and was about to go to Slovenia in the back of a Mercedes Sprinter with some fun French dudes.
The only issue was I was deathly sick - my throat was seizing up on me. We had played Paris on a Wednesday and had to play Ljubljana on a Friday. I thought for sure I was done - fever, hot sweats, nasty cough and mucous everywhere.
I did the only thing I could - crawled onto the floor, into a sleeping bag and went to bed.
17 hours later we were there - and amazingly I felt 100% better. Like it had never happened.
To be fair, I hadn't been treating myself that great and may have had a few (dozen) long nights in a row, but this event caused me to really understand and experience the power of sleep.
Also today a new client asked me, "You kind of talk about sleep a lot in your Plan. Is it really that important?" It is.
It really, really is.
We tend to run ourselves ragged, especially after having kids or getting jobs with crazy hours. 5-6 hours is normal, and in some cases considered a lot. It might be normal but it's not good.
As a recovering late nighter who has come to slow grips with the cold reality of dark & early mornings, I can tell you that sleep is the single variable most associated with the quality of my day.
I have the unfortunate ability to lose 5 hours inside of music software and think it's been 25 minutes. This doesn't play out well with 6am wake ups.
What does play out well is going to sleep when my kids do and waking up before them. Anyway, WHY THE SLEEP MAN?!
Well - one, it really helps you achieve your best body composition. People with better sleep habits are able to maintain ideal body composition (fat loss) easier.
Here are some facts, with links to the studies where they are from:
Men have 10-15% higher testosterone when rested. If you're a sleep deprived man, this is a bad thing. The higher your test levels, generally the higher your quality of life. There's a reason so many people take testosterone supplements - they work. There's also a reason I don't - you want your body to make its own for as long as possible.
Sleep reduction messes with your cortisol levels (this is not a good thing). Cortisol is your stress hormone. You don't wanna mess with it.
Chronic sleep reduction is associated with increased diabetes risk. It also messes with the balance of your hunger hormones. Diabetes is bad. You don't want it. If you can avoid it, you should.
Less sleep makes you snack more, which is (yep, you guessed it) BAD. The long nights without sleep with trips to the cupboard for crackers tend to feed themselves (pun intended, sorry). If you're sleeping, you can't eat (amazing how that works).
Sleep loss decreases your activity levels. I'm gonna blow your mind on this next one - exercise is good for you. Sleep makes you do less exercise. That is bad.
Not sleeping enough causes all sorts of bad stuff that will really mess with your body composition goals, health (mental and physical) and overall quality of life.
So - get more of it. You'll be happy (like for real, not just 'I-read-an-internet-blog-post-I'm happy-with-myself-now' happy - but real-deal, feel-better, do-more happy).