Young or old, you gotta have sleep

by Craig Maltby for Club LT

I always laugh when I hear that old bromide, “You can sleep when you’re dead.” In other words, cram everything you can into each day. Go for the gusto! Party like it’s 1999 (or 2099). Work your ass off.

My response to that “sleep when you’re dead” thing is: “If you don’t sleep, you’ll be dead earlier than you want to be.”

I know that the Lucky Tiger guy is someone on the go: job, hobbies, families, sports, concerts, home projects and chores. So reading about sleep may not be your top priority.

Still, when we talk about sleep, we’re talking about health. And health is a part of Lucky Tiger’s mission of helping guys “look and feel great.” It’s hard to feel great when you’re experiencing one or more of the adverse conditions of lack of sleep. What are those conditions?

Weight gain and obesity  Lack of sleep impacts hormone activity, hunger cycles, and types of food you desire. You may eat more late at night, burn fewer calories during your short sleep cycles, and crave more sugar and junk at night. That all adds up to more pounds.

Mental sluggishnes  Always being short of sleep makes it difficult for brain cells to communicate effectively, which, in turn, can lead to temporary mental lapses that affect memory and visual perception.

Decline in work productivity  First of all, see the sentence above on mental sluggishness. And it just makes sense. Drowsiness, even if not readily apparent, impairs memory, slows down physical processes for labor-intensive jobs, and makes you more prone to mistakes.

Heart problems  Long-term sleep deficits can contribute to Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Not good, obviously.

Weak immune system  Not getting enough sleep can weaken your immune resistance to bacterial and viral illnesses like cold and flu and other diseases. It can also prolong your illness, making it much harder to shake off and recover from.

So how to get more sleep (and maybe feel better)

I can’t cover everything in this post. Heck, there are sleep centers in most larger cities and entire sleep research institutes at many med schools. But here are a few tips that many sleep experts support (listed by The American Cancer Society):

  • Go to sleep at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning.
  • Avoid naps after 3 p.m.
  • Stay away from caffeine and alcohol late in the day.
  • Avoid nicotine completely.
  • Get regular exercise, but not within 2-3 hours of bedtime.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal late in the day, but a light snack before bedtime is OK.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable, dark, quiet, and not too warm or cold.
  • Follow a routine to help you relax before sleep (for example, reading or listening to music).
  • Don’t lie in bed awake. If you can’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, do something calming until you feel sleepy, like reading or listening to soft music.
  • See a doctor if you continue to have trouble sleeping.

And I’ll add one myself: Get rid of your mobile device in bed. Blue wavelength light from phones and screens can mess with your brain, and make yourself think your supposed to stay awake. Sometimes I listen to podcasts in bed, and I probably shouldn’t even be doing that. Do your fantasy football somewhere else. 

 

About Craig Maltby
Craig Maltby is the Club LT community manager. He lives and works in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa. When not writing or editing, Craig goes to movies, plays golf (or at least hits balls at the range), and plays keyboard in a classic rock music duo. 

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