Are you sabotaging your sleep? Sleep is essential for energy, concentration, workout recovery and building lean muscle; a long-term lack of it can contribute to overtraining as well (see if you have the symptoms of overtraining here). That much you already knew — but did you know that even a single week of hitting the sack too late (whether due to hard work, workouts, travel, partying, etc.) is enough to sabotage your best-laid plans? A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association by researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center found that the testosterone levels of men who slept less than five hours a night for one week dropped by a whopping 10-15%, with the lowest levels reported between 2-10 p.m. So how do you make sure you are not inadvertently sabotaging your plans for a good night’s sleep? Mark’s Daily Apple lays out 7 key factors. Check out a few of them below:
You’re not getting any light during the day.
The whole problem with light at night is that it’s tricking your body into thinking it’s daytime. When it’s actually daytime, however, you need light. The whole daylong circadian cycle is important for sleep – not just the small snapshot taken right before bed.
If you’ve read what I’ve written about blue light and sleep, you’re likely a champ with regards to blue light avoidance after dark. You’ve got the orange goggles. You’ve installed F.lux on all your computers (and you even jailbroke your iPhone to make it work there, too). You’ve set up black-out shades in your bedroom, and you’ve ditched the alarm clock with its blinking disruptive lights in favor of a personal rooster. And yet you still can’t get to sleep… what gives? Well, just as avoiding blue light after dark is important for normalizing your circadian rhythms and getting to sleep, exposing yourself to light during the day is also essential. Light’s entrainment capabilities go both ways. The whole problem with light at night is that it’s tricking your body into thinking it’s daytime. When it’s actually daytime, however, you need light. The whole daylong circadian cycle is important for sleep – not just the small snapshot taken right before bed.Try to get some sunlight on your eyes throughout the day, beginning (ideally) with the early morning. Right after you wake, go outside and take in the sun. Drink your coffee outside, or at least at a window facing the sun. At work, go outdoors for your breaks. Don’t stay shut-in if you can help it.