Who would have thought the phrase beauty sleep was real and backed by science, not just a fairy tale.
Sleep plays a critical role in how our body functions from muscle repair to the reduction of inflammation both internally and externally. As a society, we are moving faster and faster with little signs of slowing down.
From the day the first light bulb flickered into life, humanity's sleep and rest patterns have been in many cases a natural disaster zone along with our health.
Many reports and development specialists state that lights of cities seen from space are signs of a healthy GDP (Gross Domestic Productivity). Though this is true, in many cases, it is also the lights that highlight where suicide and inflammatory health disorders thrive.
The faster we develop, the less we sleep. With the world seeming to spin faster and faster the older we get, we can attest to the challenge of switching off and going to bed as there is a never-ending list of things to do.
On the back of the light bulb came the multi-billion dollar stimulant market that encourages and helps people to keep there eyes open for longer. In the middle of this rush for development and energy has been an awakening of sorts when it comes to sleep.
From athletes to titans of business, sleep and how much the body gets has become a vital tool in the arsenal for performance.
Gone are the days of pulling all-nighters after a big game or having to meet urgent deadlines. Now it is about prevention and recovery to ensure that we can function and perform at our best.
I recently listened to the Nike Podcast trained by Dr Cheri Mah, a sleep research scientist looking at the effects of sleep and how it affects performance. Dr Cheri Mah works across the NBA, NFL and Major League Base Ball teams like the Golden State Warriors.
What surprised her is the widespread misunderstanding and stigma around sleep rather than being seen as a professional advantage. This stigma around sleep is causing significant health issues amongst executives and athletes. "We are not built to sleep four to five hours."
Dr Cheri says many of her athletes are looking for the extra 1%. As a result of better rest, she sees increased stats upwards of 30% in performance and improvement across the board in athletic stamina and output. Her research shows that sleep is one of the key factors in recovery.
Small changes within our daily rituals can make a significant difference to sleep patterns.
Sleep can be tough. It requires discipline and dedication, but if you want to perform at your best, you need to take the time to recover.
Sleep plays a critical role in cell recovery and reduced inflammation. With the stimulation that is so prevalent in our modern society, you are not alone in the struggle to unwind and get the shut-eye to perform at your best.
We look forward to sharing more functions of sleep and its impact on the body over the next few months.