• Richard McDonough

Co-Movement Gym: A is A Health Podcast S1E4 - Hack Your Sleep

Updated: Aug 16

Two book we recommend and where a lot of this information comes from:

Matt Walker; Why we sleep?

T. S. Wiley; Lights Out

If given the choice between diet, exercise, or sleep, which would you choose? I think you can tell by the title of this blog/episode which health factor I am going to say is the most important. Sleep is by far the most important health factor in order to live a healthy life. Studies show that about 1 out of 3 adults do not get enough sleep in the United States. Adults should be shooting for at least 7 hours of sleep every night and when you fall asleep might also play an important role. Making sure you sleep between 10 PM -2 AM can specifically help repair damage from physical exercise and help improve mental focus. Also, every hour you sleep before midnight can be as beneficial as 2 hours of sleep (still shoot for a total of 7 hrs even if you fall asleep before midnight). Below are the negative effects of not getting enough sleep, the benefits of getting enough sleep, and even some tips to help you fall asleep and increase your sleep quality throughout the night.

Negative effects of getting less than 7 hrs of sleep/night:

1. Lowers your immune system increasing chance to get sick.

2. Increase chance for heart attack

3. Increase risk for cancer

4. Decreased brain function (hinders cognitive thinking)

5. Decreased sex drive (lowers testosterone)

6. Weight gain

7. Increased risk of diabetes

8. More likely to be involved in an accident

9. Effects your skin health

10. Increases inflammation

Positive effects of getting at least 7 hrs of sleep/night:

1. It can prevent/reverse all of the things listed above

2. Can improve your mood

3. Can increase productivity

4. Can improve exercise performance

5. Stimulate muscle growth and improve recovery from exercise

6. Reduces dementia and Alzheimer’s

7. Increases learning of both mental and physical skills

Common ways to mess up your sleep:

1. Screen time (blue light decreases melatonin release)

a. solution: set phone to sleep mode 1 hr before bed and set night filters or change to black and white display on electronic devices

2. Dimming lights approximately 1 hr before bed or shutting of lights majority of lights to reduce light in rooms

3. Use blackout curtains to reduce light while trying to sleep

4. Keep electronics out of the bedroom

a. solution: use regular alarm clocks vs your cell phone

5. Alcohol has a huge effect on your sleep. While it may help you fall asleep initially, it causes you to have a lower quality of sleep, suppresses REM sleep, and fragments sleep

6. Caffeine too close to bedtime also effects your quality of sleep and can make it much more difficult to fall asleep by interfering with adenosine receptors

a. Half-life of caffeine in the body can range from 1.5-9 hrs and drinking caffeine close to bedtime will disrupt sleep

7. Bedroom is too hot

a. Solution: keeping your bedroom around 60-67 ºF is ideal

8. Alarms are not a natural way to wake up. If you need an alarm clock to wake you up, then it might be a good indicator that you are not going to bed on time. You can set an alarm just in case you need it, but you should naturally wake up before your alarm.

9. Sleeping pills are not good for sleep: while they can help you fall asleep, you get a lower quality of sleep. It would be better to take a magnesium supplement before bed or melatonin instead of sleeping pills. There is a supplement called Relax which we would recommend if you are someone that has trouble sleeping.

Additional Sources:,the%20night%2C%E2%80%9D%20Walker%20explains.,for%20the%20most%20comfortable%20sleep.

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