I am tired. I didn't get much sleep last night. I wish I would have a better sleeping schedule. I just can't get to bed early enough...
I have used all of these excuses and yes, I want to call them excuses a million times. And as I've said these things, secretly looking for some compassion, oh yes, imagine that it doesn't even make any sense, I hoped it is going to make me feel better. Did it? Maybe for a split second, but really no, it didn't solve my lack of sleep and constant exhaustion.
Ok, I feel like this is a big one...
I have fallen into social media, Netflix, Youtube, and internet surfing addiction as obviously most of us. Sometimes I would give myself an excuse to do so because you see I am mostly looking up work related stuff. But we all know how we go from work-related stuff, click on one link, onto the next one and 30 minutes later you're booking a short getaway to Sri Lanka because you a limited offer popped up and you deserve a getaway.
Upsss... 3 hours later, midnight, here goes out the window all your good intentions to get to bed early to catch up on your sleep.
Or maybe you're that guy who always says yes to all the invitations to amazing parties and you feel like you just can't miss out? Do you keep dragging yourself to places and events because you think you have to?
I used to be that person and honestly, I did enjoy most of it but often followed by a thought that I wish I slept more. I guess it takes a certain age and just be ok with not saying "Yes" to everything.
We all know the basics that getting enough sleep is important to feel energized during the day, to maintain a good focus at work, school or other activities. Besides that, you're just in a better mood when you had a good night sleep.
But if we look at other factors, like for example, sleep helps to maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don't get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and you're level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you're well-rested. When we don't get enough sleep we will eat more and generally when you feel tired and hungry you make worse food choices, which will affect weight gain and general health.
I know for a fact that unfortunate days I feel tired because I got 4 - 5-hour sleep I crave snacks and food that's higher in calories and I'll end up having some of it just because I am "too tired" you know. Now think, you come to the gym and work really hard to be healthy, good looking individual but you deprive on your sleep and make bad food choices. You see where I am getting here?
What happens if you don't get enough sleep? Except for the fact that you're grumpy?
After several nights of losing sleep—even a loss of just 1–2 hours per night— your ability to function suffers as if you haven't slept at all for a day or two. And it takes even longer to "catch up" on that sleep.
Sleep deficiency can cause problems with learning, focusing, and reacting. You may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, remembering things, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. You may take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes. This all is and will affect your work, personal life, and performance at the gym.
So how can you improve your sleeping cycle?
Establish a regular bedtime routine, ideally, you're going to bed and waking up at the same time. This goes for the weekends too - try to skip staying up late or sleeping in. Depriving sleep during the week and sleeping in on the weekends will do more harm than good.
Avoid blue light after sunset. I personally have downloaded "f.lux software" on my laptop that automatically displays color temperature according to location and time of the day. I find this very helpful and my eyes don't feel as tired.
Keep your bedroom cold. I usually have the A/C on 21 C and keep the lights dimmed.
Try to relax before bedtime. I keep a book on my night table and usually takes me one page to get sleepy and fall asleep. A story for another time, this is an actual issue when I am trying to read a book as I'll keep falling asleep.
Keep a sleep diary and take notes on how you felt the next day and how much sleep debt you got! You might find a pattern here and this could help to find a place for improvement.
If you're still sitting in bed and struggling to fall asleep, grab a book and just keep on trying. You will teach your body to adjust and eventually have a proper sleeping schedule.