Since the disastrous decision from my compatriots in the United Kingdom to drag me kicking and screaming out the EU, I am not ashamed to say that I have been losing sleep.
…and it’s beginning to show.
More and more this week, I have heard myself utter that infamous alpha-male rhetoric, “I only need about four hours”. For some bizarre reason, during the teenage male years it becomes a sign of masculinity to not sleep. I’m not sure where this started, I mean I can’t see why sitting up until 3am re-watching Community Season 2 and masturbating suddenly makes you the ideal partner for anyone…
The truth is, that it doesn’t.
Sleep is an incredibly important support system for our body composition. Everything from our mental capacity, strength and feeling of overall well-being can be easily linked back to our levels of sleep.
The experts say (not me…) that the average amount of sleep necessary for males between the ages of 17 and 35 is between 7-9 hours. However, much like in nutrition and calorie intake, your lifestyle and activity levels can play a huge factor in your own needs. The “harder you live”, the more sleep you will need. Play around with your levels and find your own unique levels.
By this point in the article you’ve probably scoffed at least once, but I promise you I can back my preaching up. To highlight the importance of sleep, I’ve pulled together some reasons why it is important for us … not just mentally, but physically too.
Sleep levels have been proven to be heavily linked to various aspects of necessary brain functions, such as cognition, concentration and productivity. You will have found in your day to day life that a good night’s sleep can improve your speed, accuracy and reaction times. It’s important to remember that your brain is like a machine. Much like all other machines, there needs to be rest periods otherwise the machine will overheat and performance will no longer be optimised.
However, your brain is actually incredibly active during this “rest period” too. During your much needed slumber your brain acts to strengthen memories and “practices” new skills you’ve learned during the day. Which means whether you’re learning Spanish, samba dancing or just learning to breathe – you’ll do it better after sleeping!
Finally …you know that cranky co-worker that no one really wants to speak to?
They probably don’t get enough sleep. A lack of sleep speeds up our tendency towards anger and mood swings. It can increase feelings of sadness, causes a lack of motivation and has even been linked to depression.
Summary: Sleep = Good.
You want to be handsome? You want to be fit? Get some sleep.
The non-ironically named Growth Hormone (GH) is responsible for making you grow big and strong like Schwarzenegger. Your body produces most GH when you are asleep, providing you with bigger and more impressive biceps.
Sleep also promotes fat loss and reduces the storage of fat within your body. Those with a lower sleep duration tend to weight significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. This is believed to be due to a number of reasons, including genetics, calories intake and the motivation to exercise.
Therefore, sleep reinforces everything you do in the gym. Most people buy ridiculously overpriced powders to do that job, when in reality, all they needed to do was finally step AWAY from their own reflection and get their regular 8 hours a night…
So Sleep helps you manage your weight and build muscle, what else does it do?
Your skin repairs itself during the sleep process, so without that period of rest, your skin’s ability to rebuild itself diminishes, which results in blemishes, dark circles around your eyes and an acceleration of the aging process.No one wants that.
So let’s put it another way; they don’t call it beauty sleep for no reason.
The more time you spend in bed … the more time you’ll spend in bed 😉
So what can you do to help yourself improve your sleeping patterns?
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE
As discussed at the start of this article, men tend to view sleep as secondary to …well, procrastinating. In order to realistically make a change to your patterns, this needs to be altered.
- Create your own Bedtime Routine
The human body loves repetition. It loves to know what lies ahead and so that it can prepare itself. In order to create your own bedtime routine, give yourself 20/30 minutes to play with before you want to fall asleep. In this time, relax and cement your routine; brush your teeth, wash your face, put on your Pug Pyjamas and read something.
This leads me perfection to Point 3.
- Avoid Electronic Devices In Bed
Words can not describe the improvement I found in my sleep when I moved my mobile phone away from my bedside cabinet. The modern worlds reliance on electronic devices have greatly impacted on our ability to obtain adequate sleep quantity AND quality. So if you are going to read in bed, make sure it’s not “14 Greatest Movie Scenes Recreated by Cats” on Buzzfeed.
Switch off your device… it will help your brain switch off!
Who’s heard the infamous line “You’ll sleep well tonight!”
It’s funny that no one ever tells you that after a nine hour House of Cards marathon.
Tiring the body out is key to landing a deep, rewarding, sleep. Also, it has great benefits for your snake-like waistline.
- Create The Right Sleep Environment
To get the best sleep, try to reduce light bleeding into your bedroom as much as possible. This can be a large culprit in keeping you awake. Subconsciously your brain has paired light with day-time. Distracting noise can also keep you tossing and turning for hours.
It would be beneficial to look into purchasing black-out blinds and sound proofing if necessary.