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Sleep - The Habit You Need To Create ASAP For Longevity

Winding down for bed is one of the biggest complaints new clients I work with often report in their intake forms. Without fail the majority of my clients describe sleep as one of the most elusive things to their lives. They seem to never get enough of it and if they do feel it is not a good quality rest. Sleep is one of the biggest progress halters to building muscle, fat loss, and weight loss. No nutrition or workout plan can overcome terrible sleep. Well, how do we make sleep better? We make it a habit.

We often take sleep for granted as if it is magically going to happen for us and be great. We never give it really much thought other than when we go to bed. Usually, sleep problems are a mix depending totally on the person. Some have trouble falling asleep or unwinding for the night. Others fall asleep, but wake in the middle of it and have difficulty falling back asleep. The other mix is those who feel they never get enough sleep.

Sleep is when your body is rebuilding itself for the day ahead. Most of us adults know this, yet we take pride in our no sleep lifestyles and wear our busyness like a badge of honor. This is how the stage gets set for the slow creeping death that is associated with a lack of good sleep.

First things first, most rate their sleep as either fine or terrible - never in-between has been my experience. I knew mine was terrible for some time, but when I finally started monitoring my sleep through a WHOOP band, I was jolted awake about how my shitty sleep was steering me towards an early grave.

Lack of good restorative deep sleep has been associated with a few things I would rather avoid. For one heart disease, which heart issues run on both sides of my family. A rise in insulin resistance which means my body is slowly becoming more inflamed because it is not able to properly process the carbs I am eating which leads ultimately to fat gain. The other is an increased risk of Alzheimer's which my Nana succumbed to in her mid 90’s. 3 scary things to make me understand everything I could about sleep.

My education on sleep came with the rude awakening of needing to understand my body’s response to stress. In 2019 I dived into the study of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) which is a lens into both branches of your nervous system. One is your fight or flight branch and the other being your rest and digest part. I was devouring everything I could on the subject even completing a certification in a course on HRV. 

Upon wearing my WHOOP for a few weeks it became very clear to me I was more often than not in a fight or flight mode rather than a rest and digest mode. I had some signs of that outside of the wearable technology to back it up too. I experienced bloating and gas due to poor digestion because when you are fight or flight your body shuts down your digestive processes to conserve energy. I also always felt irritable and on edge. None of this was any good, but finally, I had some insight into what I could do to fix it and it began with working at sleep like I do my workout program and nutrition.