Human beings are the only species who deprive themselves of sleep, with no apparent reason. It seems a sign of strength. Being able to ‘power through’ or to do an all nighter and it’s almost viewed as ‘lazy’ for those who don’t get up at dawn and #hustle.
Men who sleep 5 hours a night have significantly smaller testicles than those who sleep 7 hours. Now all joking a side the impact of sleep is huge and is similar to female and the impact on their reproductive health. But above that Sleep is huge.
Impacts can lead to the effect on your aging, learning, decrease in immune cell activity (by 70%!) and hormone function including decrease in testosterone and increase in Ghrelin (hunger signalling hormone). Now sleeping pills are not going to cut it. Sleeping pills are blunt instruments that do not create naturalistic sleep. .
So what can we actually do? The obvious interventions are managing our caffeine and alcohol intake and struggling with sleep at night to avoid naps. Beyond that what we can try to promote is regularity. Going to bed and waking up at the same time (even on weekends!). This is anchors your sleep and improves the quantity and quality. The final piece of advice is to keep it cool. We know it is easier to fall asleep in a cold environment than a warm environment because your body needs to drop it’s temperature by 2-3 degrees Fahrenheit to fall asleep and to stay asleep. So managing bedroom temperature can be really beneficial. .
Then when we are tossing and turning in bed we need to get out of bed, go to a different room and do something different so that we do not associate your bedroom as a place of wakefulness. Then returning to bed as and when you are tired. The analogy used would be you wouldn’t sit at the dinner table waiting to be hungry. The same principle applies for sleep.
Sleep is a non- negotiable biological necessity says sleep researcher Matthew Walker. We need to ensure we put in the correct measures to manage it.