portretaanzicht van een jonge man die geeuwt

Snoozing and progression

You do everything as it should be, but still:

  • Are you constantly hungry?
  • Do you suffer from cravings?
  • Do you have little motivation?
  • Do you have little energy?
  • Are you sick more often?
  • Reduce your performance

Could this be related to your sleep? Let's take a closer look at this.

Why do we sleep?

There is still a lot to discover about sleep, but what we do know is that sleep is important for the body in several ways. When we are sleeping, the body goes through the four stages of sleep. These four phases are repeated until we wake up. This cycle varies from 70 to 120 minutes and is repeated 4 to 5 times within 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

Phase 1: Non-REM sleep under 7 minutes
Phase 2: Non-REM sleep or light sleep
Phase 3: Non-REM sleep or deep sleep
Phase 4: REM sleep

Phase 1: Non-REM sleep under 7 minutes
The body calms down as soon as we fall asleep. The brain waves, heart rate and eye movements slow down.

Phase 2: Non-REM sleep or light sleep
Our body temperature is lowered, eye movements stop and our heart rate and muscles
relaxed. We are in this phase for the longest time during our sleep.

Phase 3: Non-REM sleep or deep sleep
We must try to make this phase last as long as possible. During this phase the body recovers. It repairs cells, tissues and builds muscle mass.

Phase 4: REM sleep
During this phase our eyes move back and forth very quickly, our breathing and heart rate increase because we are usually dreaming during this phase. This indicates that our body is processing information, which is important for the learning process, as well as our memory.

Sleep has many benefits and you have certainly seen some of them on the internet and social media, but let's take a closer look.

Weight management

When we become sleep deprived, certain hormones will be adjusted.

  • Ghrelin is increased, making us hungrier.
  • Leptin is lowered, which means we don't get enough as quickly.

This combination ensures that we will feel hungry more quickly and will be less likely to stop eating. This increases the risk of consuming too many calories.

Poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Muscle loss
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Alzheimer's
  • Bone fractures
  • Depressions
  • Anxiety attacks

Insulin is the hormone that helps transport glucose (sugar) to the cells where it can be used as energy. When your body is less insulin sensitive, the cells will not let glucose in, causing more glucose to remain in the blood. Glucose is knocking on the door, but the cells won't let it in. A good night's sleep improves your insulin sensitivity.

Our bodies need sleep to repair and grow. If building muscle mass is a goal, then sleep is essential and non-negotiable.

Poor sleep patterns have a negative impact on our immunity. We cannot train, work or enjoy ourselves when we are sick. During our sleep, the body produces antibodies, immune cells and cytokines, or messengers of your immune system, which are essential in tackling infections and inflammation.

Good sleep has been shown to improve muscle strength and endurance, while too little sleep has shown to increase the risk of injury and reduce motivation to exercise, resulting in poorer performance

How much sleep do I need?
The classic answer for adults (18 – 60 years) used to be; 7 to 9 hours of sleep. In the meantime, this answer is somewhat more nuanced.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I rested after 7 hours of sleep or do I need more?
  • How do I feel during the day, do I have enough energy?
  • Do I need caffeine to get through the day?

Every person is unique and needs to look at themselves when it comes to sleep. There is no general approach. Some people need more, some less.

What is my ideal bedtime?
We usually sleep in 90 minute cycles. When you wake up in the middle of a cycle, you may feel like you have difficulty getting started after being woken up by an alarm.

People who wake up without the help of an alarm are the people who feel rested and ready to start the day.

Calculate your ideal bedtime:

  • Make a note of the time you get up (or your alarm is set).
  • Count backwards in 90 minute cycles.
  • Add another 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep.
  • This is your ideal time to go to bed.

Dit is jouw ideale tijd om naar bed te gaan.

Can you make up for a lack of sleep?
I can answer this briefly: no!

Several nights where you don't sleep enough causes the necessary damage. You cannot quickly solve this by sleeping in, on the contrary, this does more harm to the body than good.

Our body works with a biorhythm and wants a fixed routine by going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day. Do you often feel that Mondays are more difficult than other days? This is because you threw your biorhythm off course during the weekend.

What can you do to optimize your sleep?

  • Get up and go to sleep at the same time every day.
  • Expose yourself to natural light as soon as possible.
  • No caffeine at least 7 hours before bedtime and preferably no caffeine in the afternoon.
  • Provide sufficient exercise, preferably in the morning.
  • Do not sleep during the day and certainly not in the afternoon.
  • No alcohol before sleeping.
  • No large meals before bedtime.
  • Turn off all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Dim the lights.
  • Make sure your bedroom has a temperature of around 18 – 20 degrees.
  • Provide a routine that calms your body such as reading, meditation, writing in a diary…
  • No screen use in bed.
  • Applying breathing techniques.

If you can't sleep, don't lie down. Get up and do something that makes you tired.

You should try to avoid sleeping medications at all times. When taking this type of medication you are not actually sleeping. The body does not experience it as sleeping, but as unconsciousness.

When taking supplements, be aware that you do so at your own risk and that they may contain different ingredients or doses than what the label says.

  • Melatonin: Helps reduce the time to fall asleep, not the duration of sleep. A lot of doubts have appeared lately around melatonin and personally I no longer recommend it.
    • Dose: start with 0.5mg about 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Ashwagandha (KSM-66): supports lowering cortisol, better coping with stress and improving sleep quality.
    • Dose: 600mg before bedtime.
  • L-theanine: can help calm the body and sleep.
    • Dose: 100 – 200mg before bedtime.
  • Lavender: can have a calming effect and improve sleep.
    • Dose: 80 – 160mg with 25 – 46% linalool (fragrance)
  • Magnesium (threonate and glycinate): has a calming effect on the body and improves sleep.
    • Dose: start with 250mg about 30 minutes before bedtime.

Supplements are not magic pills that will solve everything. If the basics are not in order, then using supplements is a waste of money.

People often say 'I'll sleep when I'm dead', but then I wonder how quickly they want to get there because sleep is essential for good health.


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