Your Superpower is Sleep
There is one secret daily ritual that is so powerful it really should have super in its title. It has the ability to improve mental learning, memory, metabolic rates, immune function and even reduce rates of cancer, and slow the signs of aging…
When you have it, the world is your oyster.
Decisions come easy.
You feel unstoppable.
Relationships stay healthy, or grow stronger.
So what is this incredibly mysterious phenomenon we can all build into our daily rituals?
It’s one of the most underrated things in life.
Something most of us cut back on when other things need to get done.
And that thing is called a great nights sleep. Eight hours to be more exact.
In our article below, we discuss the many risks behind not getting enough sleep and why it’s urgent you start prioritizing your eight hours of sleep today if you’re not getting enough.
UPDATED: Then we'll close off with some proven techniques to help ensure a healthy full nights sleep routines is part of your daily routine, and references if you're interested in learning more about sleep!
Inspired Habits: Eight Hours Sleep
Sleep is a cornerstone Inspired Foundation that has the ability to transform your life. Here we’ll cover just how sleep impacts our happiness, and what each of us can do to ensure we understand its importance is not just our health, but in reaching our goals for the future.
We all know how we feel after a brilliant nights sleep - energized, alive, and ready to take on our world. But a bad nights sleep won’t just leave you feeling a bit dumb or lethargic, recent scientific discoveries demonstrate just how horrible a lack of sleep is for your short and long term health.
Our Worldwide Sleep Epidemic: We live in a world where sleep deprivation is an epidemic, and that, according to neurologist and sleep scientist Matt Walker is alarmingly bad for our health. From premature aging, reproductive issues, weight gain, memory loss, reduced learning, increased risk of major illnesses like cancer, and heart attacks, years of missed ‘z’s, especially of the eight hour variety, are exceedingly bad for us. Not getting enough sleep is much worse than we may have realized, but the good news is, there are actions you can start today to correct your sleep deficit if you have one. Or to gently give a nudge to a friend or family member if you know they’re missing out on some much needed sleep.
But first, let’s start with the really bad news…
Premature Aging & Reproductive Issues: Men, I hope you’re sitting. Not getting enough sleep will NOT make you more of a man. In fact, failing to get enough sleep might actually make you less of one. For men who sleep an alarmingly low four or five hours each night, testosterone levels are equivalent of someone actually ten years their senior, meaning smaller testicles and lower sperm counts then their eight-hour sleep-loving counterparts.
Sleep, Immune Function and Serious Illness: Health enthusiasts get your Vitamin C ready, studies show that restricting your sleep to only four hours in one night dramatically reduces your next day immune cell activity by a whopping 70%. This means VIP access to bacteria and viruses that may be lurking and a higher rate catching of the common cold or flu.
Longer term the impacts of insufficient nightly sleep are much more serious. Failing to get a full night sleep over years has a direct correlation with an increased risk of major illnesses including various forms of cancer. Recently the world health organization even listed any form of nighttime shift work as a probable carcinogen, meaning if you work nights, you’re at greater risk of serious illness. In no clearer terms, short sleep predicts a shorter life, filled with exponentially higher risk of illness.
Memory, Learning, Metabolism and Damaged DNA: There is also growing evidence that sleep directly impacts memory, and metabolic processes. So when it comes to memory, if you sleep after you study or study after a great nights sleep, your ability to store and retain information increases. But unfortunately, the same in reverse is also true. Short term sleep loss is proven to impact sequences of DNA which degrade related to memory or learning when we fail to get enough sleep.
This evidence, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, demonstrated that just one sleepless night impacts our circadian system and creates epigenetic fluctuations to our DNA, which not only impact our ability to learn or retain information, but also our metabolic systems. In fact, the metabolic inputs for chronic sleep loss or night time shift work showed reduction in lean muscle mass, and an increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
Sleep Regenerates Brain DNA Faster: We already know that a great nights sleep will improve immune cell functions but there is another amazing benefit. A great nights sleep is also essential to help repair DNA damage in our brains. Our basic daily activities like thinking, walking, and even stress cause oxidation throughout our body that damages our DNA in a constant damage and repair cycle.
This damage is manageable for our body’s regenerative systems, as in, the rate or speed in which chromosomes in the cells throughout our body repair DNA. But within our brains, constant neural activity requires those chromosome to actually move faster to repair the neural damage we do each day. And that faster activity is only possible while we sleep. In other words, a full nights sleep helps ensure that your brain is fully repaired and ready for the day ahead. So prioritizing a great night sleep, in the range of eight hours each night, literally has the ability to improve your health and set us up for on incredibly inspired future.
So how do we work towards a solid nights sleep?
Try these proven techniques to help your life changing eight hours of sleep.
1. Go to bed at the same time each night, seven nights per week.
2. Don't eat after 8 pm, and no water either, for a better nights sleep.
3. Reduce sugar in your diet, increase fibre for a better nights sleep.
4. No electronic devices after 9pm. Or your bodies natural melatonin production will be delayed otherwise
5. Limit your alcohol. Don't drink right before bed. Stage 5-REM sleep won't kick in until all the alcohol has been processed by your liver, which could take 6 hours, meaning if you only sleep 6 hours, you won't be entering REM sleep.
6. Limit marijuana intake before bed. Like alcohol, it may help you get to sleep, but it prevents your ability to reach REM sleep until it is processed out of your system. If you wake from a dream, that means you only reach level 4 sleep. Remembering your dreams does not mean you had a great nights sleep. In fact the opposite is true.
7. Room temperature matters. When you sleep your body initially cools for the initial stage of sleep. To help that natural process out, adjust the room temperature to 15-19 C or 60-67F.
Thanks again for visiting us at The Inspired. For more articles on Inspired Life Foundations be sure to subscribe at www.the-inspired.com .
And don't forget to share this story with a friend. Until next time... have a great nights sleep!
- Goran Yerkovich
1. Find out what the ideal thermostat setting is to help you snooze longer. https://www.sleep.org/articles/temperature-for-sleep/
2. TED: Sleep is Your Superpower – Matt Walker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MuIMqhT8DM&feature=youtu.be
3. Lack of Sleep increases risk of some cancers - Sleepfoundation.org - https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/lack-sleep-increases-your-risk-some-cancers
4. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism https://www.whatisepigenetics.com/short-term-sleep-loss-alters-dna-methylation-of-clock-genes/
5. CBC Quirks & Quarks: March 8 2019 Podcast Episode - Science of awe, blue whales and sonar, chromosomes and sleep, ancient aquaculture on the west coast, and dogs and human sperm quality.