- Prioritising and Planning pays dividends for Eduardo and Cris - June 7, 2019
- Food Prep Tips For The Time Poor - April 29, 2019
- Why we warm it up & stretch it out - March 5, 2019
- Solutions for Evening Snack Attacks - December 15, 2018
- Cauliflower Rice - November 3, 2018
The sleep series returns after a festive hiatus last fortnight.
A popular piece of advice regarding sleep is to keep consistent sleep and wake times. To be honest this is one piece of the sleep puzzle I often skim over, without really giving it a second thought. If you’re getting good sleep, does it really matter how consistent the times of sleeping and waking are? I decided to scratch the surface to see what was underneath.
A recent study looking at the sleeping patterns and body composition of 330, 17-26 year-old women found that “Inconsistent sleep patterns and poor sleep efficiency are related to adiposity (fat mass). Consistent sleep patterns that include sufficient sleep may be important in modifying risk of excess body fat in young adult women“. The participants who got between 8 and 8.5 hours sleep per night, had the lowest body fat.
It is fairly intuitive from an evolutionary perspective, that for our distant hunter gatherer ancestors, and also modern hunter gatherers, sleep- wake cycles were largely determined by the rising and setting of the sun. When we look at the animal kingdom around us, this holds true of other species also. In fact, modern man’s conquering of night with artificial light has not just impacted on human health but also effects animals as shown in this study and this slightly more engaging video.
Back to Humans, having a consistent, nourishing, enriching, evening routine that leads to consistent sleep and wake times is imperative for optimal health and is likely a contributing factor for maintaining healthy body composition.
- Try and keep your sleep-wake times as consistently as possible, as close to the rising and setting of the sun as possible. Much better in the coming summer months.
- One way to promote this is to turn off the TV, computer and smartphone after dark. More on that can be read in part 1 of this series of posts.
- Aim to do away with using an alarm. If you’re getting your evening shutdown rituals to a point where you’re in bed consistently and sleeping efficiently you should wake fairly consistently also. Set an alarm at the latest time you need to get out of bed. Honor your natural wake time and get out of bed and start your day if you happen to wake within 30mins of your alarm.
- You will inevitably have some late nights from time to time. Connecting with friends and family at parties, weddings and seeing live entertainment is an important part of being a healthy human as well. Don’t add unnecessary stress to your life by worrying about staying out late occasionally in such settings. It’s our habits, what we do day to day, not the anomalies that pop up from time to time, that will dictate our overall health.
Happy zzz’s everyone!!