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How important is a good night’s sleep?

reset and recovery

We all know how rubbish we feel without sleep. Many of us are so consistently sleep deprived we have forgotten what “good” actually feels like. Whichever of these applies to you, you must pay more attention to the quality and quantity of your sleep. One bad nights sleep can cause insulin resistance similar to that of a type II diabetic. Think about how rough you feel when you lose sleep. That’s similar to how a type II diabetic feels when their disease is uncontrolled.

Maybe you think sleep is for weaker people, you have amazing stamina and another cup of coffee will see you through the day. Then consider this: The Disease Control Centres have shown that shift work and sleep deprivation is actually a type of carcinogen (that’s right it can cause cancer!). Insufficient or poor quality sleep puts your body under significant stress, compromises your immune system and makes you overweight, forgetful, and irrational.

Our caveman ancestors never had an alarm clock. They went to sleep at sunset and got up at sunrise. Like every other living thing, they were in tune with the seasons and the natural state of day and night. They rested in the daytime when they were tired and at night they slept. This is what our genetics  expect us to do but most of us live out a very different reality.

Lack of sleep causes stress. Stress has an additive effect. We lose sleep, work more, worry about money, and take care of our children. All of this increases our stress levels. Good sleep is one of the most important factors in reducing stress and if we are sleep deprived stress can cause elevated cortisol levels in the evening.This makes you tired during the day and wired at night, which then affects your sleep quality. It’s a vicious circle.

So, how long should you sleep each night? Well, you should aim for at least eight to nine hours of sleep every night. Basically, If you still need an alarm clock to wake up on time then you’re not getting enough sleep. The bedroom MUST be dark , the kind of dark that our caveman ancestors experienced before civilization, city life and light pollution. That means no light whatsoever. No TV (not even on standby), computers, or even alarm clocks. Even go so far as to cover the LED lights on your alarm. Don’t resort to sleep masks. Block the light from your windows with blackout curtains or tape them up with cardboard if need be. Whatever you do, the room must be dark. If you learn how to sleep well, you’ll have improved memory, fewer allergies,  less inflammation and recover faster from exercise. If your even a little overweight, this is especially important. If you want to lose weight , make sure a good night’s sleep is a priority!

Ken Burge (inventor of the Paleo Burn Program) provides a real insight into the hormonal and biochemical process which makes sleep so crucial to weight loss and ongoing good health. CLICK HERE to learn more.