Getting Enought Sleep?

Got the feeling I might hit a bit of a nerve with this article. With our modern lifestyle, we have made it very difficult to switch off properly when we get home at night. Your cell phone has now made it possible for you to keep up to date with emails, twitter feeds and facebook and thus never actually begin an evening slowdown.

Lack of sleep has been linked to:

  • low immunity
  • high blood pressure
  • depression,
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • diabetes

The latest research indicates that you need more than 7 hours sleep a night but less than 9 hours sleep at night. Within our high entertainment and connected life style, it is believed that the average person is sleep deprived by as much as two weeks per year!

Sleep deprivation has been one of the tools in the torturers kit for years and yet many inflict that level of torture onto themselves. Both the Exxon oil spill and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster were caused by tired people behind the controls.

The part of your body that most needs sleep is your hypothalamus. The hypothalamus affects hormone production, tells the body when it’s time for bed and time to wake up, controls temperature, blood pressure and digestion. In other words, if the hypothalamus starts to malfunction, you start to malfunction.

Lack of sleep will impair your immune system which will open you up to more infections. An impaired immune system will increase your chance of getting cancer.

Weight Loss: A lack of sleep works on the central nervous system becoming more active and it inhibits the pancreas so that it doesn’t produce enough insulin affecting your sugar levels. Eve Van Cauter from the University of Chicago showed that just 6 days of 4 hours sleep a day almost made 11 healthy young males pre-diabetic.

Some practical steps.

1)      Aim for at least seven hours of sleep. This might mean getting to bed a bit before that so that you can slow your body down a bit.

2)      Try and get your room as dark as possible.

3)      You will always sleep better in a cooler room. Maybe aim a fan at your bed. This will also prevent mosquitos from buzzing around and keeping you awake.

4)      Take a magnesium supplement before going to sleep.

5)      Don’t drink any caffeinated drink after 4 p.m. You might have to avoid caffeinated drinks after 2 p.m. if you are especially sensitive to it.

6)      Keep a to-do list near your bed and get all the to-do items out of your head and onto the list.

7)      Heat up some milk and drink before retiring.

8)      Remember that you need extra rest if you are training hard. Your ability to rest and recover is as important as your ability to train hard.

Here’s to a good night sleep!


Mike Roscoe.
Mike Roscoe

About sbrsport

SBR Sport specialises in Swimming, Biking and Running. On the medical side we are able to do intensive bike setups, leg assessments and soft tissue release. Follow us on twitter - and/or facebook -
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5 Responses to Getting Enought Sleep?

  1. geminifive says:

    I’d like to share my thoughts:
    4) How does magnesium help in sleep?
    6) Writing down my things to do before I take a nap or go to sleep helps me unload or take off the thought off my mind. Very helpful to make me relax.

    I’m guilty of keeping my phone or iPod close to me when I go to bed, causing me to delay my sleep for up to a couple of hours at times. Thanks for the reminder!

    • SBR Sport says:

      Among its many important qualities, magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system. In fact, magnesium has recently received considerable attention as an inexpensive dietary supplement that can resolve and alleviate many sleep disturbances.

      * Magnesium is considered the “anti-stress” mineral and is a natural tranquilizer. In the elderly, magnesium supplements were found to improve sleep by decreasing the release of cortisol, a known cause of sleep disruption. Stress depletes magnesium and magnesium relieves stress. When your magnesium levels are low, your nervous system gets out of balance, and you feel on edge, naturally resulting in tightening muscles.

      • fbrill says:

        Would you recommend slow-mag, or can one get a pure magnesium supplement?

      • SBR Sport says:

        Hi Francois, Slow Mag is a good product. 32GI are also coming out with a Magnesium supplement that people in the trade say will be the purest yet.

  2. fbrill says:

    Thanks Mike!
    Great article, I find that Melatonin (Available over the counter) helps one get to sleep as well, when your sleeping cycles might be out. Melatonin is also produced by your brain as you darken the room, so the darker the better as you said 😉

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