Your Lack of Sleep is Holding you Back!

Sleep plays an important role in our day to day life, yet almost all adults do not sleep enough on a regular basis.  We work every day trying to keep up and process information and find ourselves working well into the night, avoiding much needed sleep to help us for the next day.  Here are five reasons why we need 8-10 hours of sleep every day.

Enhances Metabolism

Lack of sleep can increase the risk of obesity.  While you are sleeping your metabolism is still working well into the night, but it is not as effective when you are sleep deprived.  Sleeping also helps maintain your hunger hormones.  These hormones tell you when you are hungry and full.  These hormones can be thrown out of balance if a sufficient amount of sleep is not achieved.

Melatonin, what helps you fall asleep

Melatonin is the hormone that helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.  Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in your body when a lack of light is present, every evening your body starts producing melatonin as the sun goes down and stops producing it when the sun goes up allowing you to wake up.  If you try to delay your sleep cycle by going to bed late, when you wake up in the morning you will have leftover melatonin in your system which will make you feel sleepy throughout the day. Exercise can remove this feeling as well as stimulants, but stimulants are not recommended.  Coffee is one of many bad stimulants.  When it enters your system, you feel a pick me up, but what is happening in your brain is the caffeine molecule is not allowing the melatonin to process in the brain, the feeling of being tired, but the problem with this is that the caffeine molecule does not disappear after use, it stays there for the rest of your life.  This means that when melatonin is produced for use not all of it will be used before you wake up.  This will create a cycle of drinking more coffee to cope and burning less and less melatonin every night.

Focus and energy

When you rest, your brain is sorting out all of the information you have learned today and storing it away, after that your brain prepares itself to learn and understand things tomorrow.  If you ever tried studying for a really hard test you start to notice that it is harder to focus and learn material the more, you study.  This is because your brain has reached its peak ability to learn and will not get any better.  While you should be resting and letting your brain recover and reset with sleep many people instead stay up late trying to study and learn material that their brain is struggling to retain that information.  With proper rest and recuperation, you could learn and retain information twice as fast as the day before allowing you to study less and retain more knowledge.


Sleeping stimulates the growth hormone which helps adolescents grow.  Without sleep the amount of growth hormone release will be moderately diminished meaning that your overall growth will be stunted.

Being involved in an exercise program creates endorphins which help you feel more awake and focused after a good day’s rest.  It also helps adolescents produce and regulate their growth hormone.  Exercise also stimulates your metabolism throughout the day.  And finally, it helps improve the quality of your sleep by ensuring that your body is sufficiently tired enough to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Published by Jeffrey Spagnolo

B.A. Exercise Physiology, Athletic Training Assistant, Sports Medicine Student, Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, Personal Trainer

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