Sleep impacts all aspects of our lives and plays an important role on our health and well-being.
Sleep loss and accumulated sleep debt can impair our physical performance, particularly when there is a strong cognitive component associated to the activity. However, its impact is dependent on a variety of factors including individual variability, the type of training and sport as well as training familiarity and habit.
Although extra time in bed over the weekend can help to alleviate some of the accumulated sleep dept, continuous misalignment of our circadian rhythm through recurring social jet lag, much like the effects of shift work, not only increases daytime sleepiness and is a contributing factor to the Monday Blues, but has also shown to increase risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, and even cancer.
Insufficient sleep is most commonly a result of a late bedtime and/or early wake time, or difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Although one or two hours of sleep loss may not appear to be significant, there is an cumulative effect when repeated each night which can lead to devastating effects on our performance, our health, our waistline and much more.
Chronotype refers to the preferred timing throughout the day-night period for when we sleep, as well as for activities and performance during wakefulness. It is most popularly defined into two categories: Morning types (larks) and Evening types (owls).
A healthy and strong circadian rhythm is needed, not only for good quality sleep, but has various effects on our health and well-being.
It is commonly mentioned to avoid bright lights and screen time before bed in order to achieve better sleep. This is because the eyes have a direct connection to the structure of the brain that regulates our circadian rhythm, our internal biological clock.
Caffeine has direct action on the wake promoting system in our brain and is a popular and widely used stimulant. However, depending on individual sensitivity to caffeine in our system, it can also impact the quality and quantity of our night-time sleep.
Lack of sleep modulates two hormones that regulate our appetite: leptin and ghrelin.
Sleep plays a vital role and is considered to be a fundamental pillar for our health and well-being.
Sleep is not a passive ‘shut down’ state but rather an altered physiological state that cycles between NREM and REM sleep.
Timing of sleep is dependent on two main processes: the circadian rhythm and the homeostatic pressure for sleep.
Sleep, to different extent, can be found in all living creatures.
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