How Your Lack of Sleep is Killing Your Gains, And You
What if I said there was one thing you could start doing today that would immediately
- Reverse your Testosterone back 10 Years Younger
- Boost your Metabolism
- Accelerate your Fat Loss
- Decrease your Risk of Injury by up to 60%
- Improve Performance by up to 20-30%
- Decrease your risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimers
AND It requires absolutely No Effort, No Workout, No Gym and Costs You Nothing
Would you do it?
Sadly I honestly don’t think you would
But it I’m going to do my best to convince you…
This is probably the most important and eye opening article I have ever researched and written.
For years and years I have studied, researched and written the hell out of topics on nutrition, exercise and fat loss. But this topic has literally been a game changer for me. (Not to be confused with the other “game changer” that is literally about nothing)
I’ve always known and talked about how important your Sleep is. But the more I dove in to the research, the more I’ve come to appreciate just how important.
This information is by no means new, but a lot of the details are definitely new to me. And hopefully new to some of you too.
It is no secret that the idea of surviving and thriving on less sleep is championed and often praised in modern society. People talk about it as if it is super human and others wear it like a badge of honour.
I’m definitely guilty of that, often priding myself on only getting 5-6 hours of sleep each night. Thinking I am somehow more productive, like it is a testament to my dedication, my ambition and my drive to be more and do more each and every day.
Thinking I am absolutely crushing it, that I am somehow super human. While everyone else is just…lazy…
And I am happy to admit I am 100% absolutely and positively wrong.
It shouldn’t be something that is celebrated. It shouldn’t be something to strive for. It should be something that is feared. It should be something that is viewed as the antithesis of exactly what I am trying to live and preach.
We’ve known for a while now that chronic sleep deprivation (read modern lifestyle) increases your risk of
- Heart disease
Now, the reason I think most people don’t take this seriously is because it seems EVERYTHING today causes all of those things. Modern Life causes all of these things.
Myself included. I already knew this, but when you look at some of the more specific and insidious ways in which sleep deprivation affects your body, it really does hit closer to home.
And it really does make you appreciate just how you are contributing to your own lack of results in your fat loss efforts and a slow path towards a decrease in health…and death.
Let me just start by saying, according to the research, you should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep each and every day. If you are one of the few people that are consistently getting this, then, well done, you might want to read on to see all the things you are saving yourself from.
If you are like me and only get 5-6 hours a night (anything less than 7), or you work shifts, OR have kids, then read on. This is definitely for you.
And, the best part, all of it is EASY. It’s FREE. And it takes ABSOLUTELY NO EFFORT on your part.
It Destroys Your Exercise Gains
“Men who sleep 5-6 hours a night will have testosterone levels of someone 10 years their senior…” (Walker, 2018)
This is especially worrying for middle aged men who’s test levels are already on a downward spiral. Imagine being mid 40’s (where it’s already been declining over the past decade) and having the test levels of someone mid 50’s?? If there was a way you could literally get the test levels of someone 10 years younger and you could do it NATURALLY, would you do it? You freaking bet!! So why aren’t you?
Being chronically sleep deprived also
- Decreases Insulin Sensitivity
- Increases Cortisol
- Decreases Thyroid activity
- Causes Hypogonadism
All of these things lead to increase body fat, decreased muscle mass, decreased metabolism, increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, you name it.
Talk about totally working against your fat loss efforts. It’s no surprise then you are more likely to lose muscle over fat when in a calorie deficit when you are sleep deprived. In fact “70% of the loss when in a calorie deficit is from muscle loss when you are sleep deprived” (Walker, 2018). Some of these factors can be offset with exercise, but even then, you are having to exercise your butt off just to break even, so to speak.
If you are a shift worker, it is even more bad news. Shift workers have higher rates of
- Cancer, especially prostate, bowel and breast.
(*see how these words keep cropping up again and again??)
If you sleep 5-6 hours per day, you are also more likely to eat 200-300 calories MORE each day. People who are under slept are more likely to eat more and eat more of the WRONG things, such as high sugar and high processed foods. This is through a complex mechanism of certain hormones (leptin and grehlin) which I won’t be covering here.
In a nutshell, it’s harder for you to lose fat, it’s harder for you to get improvements in body composition, you are more likely to over eat on the wrong foods and you have serious health consequences…These reasons should be enough to wake you up (reverse pun intended). But, if you need any more reasons, read on…
Sleep deprivation also leads to a dramatic loss in performance. People who get 6 hours of sleep or less, your “time to physical exhaustion drops by up to 30%” (you fatigue quicker)
And, anything less than 7 hours, you get measurable decreases in performance in
- Peak muscle strength
- Vertical jump height
- Peak running speed
If you have ever tried doing a high intensity workout the morning after a bad nights sleep and it SUCKED, you now know why. Think of that on a chronic scale.
Just in case you’re not following the story so far. It robs you of your workout gains, AND it makes your performance during your actual workouts suck.
These numbers are some of the first I have ever seen that are the hard numbers in decreased performance. And, to be honest, they’re worrying.
Impairs Motor Skills and Learning
It turns out, sleep is absolutely critical in the process of you learning a new skill. Researchers measured brain cells firing while learning a skill and then during sleep. What they found was the brain replays the exact same sequence, at a speed that was 20 times FASTER! It’s like it is replaying it again and again on fast forward, laying down the track for the neural connections.
The results is, you come back the next day “20-30% better in terms of your skilled performance than where you were at the end of your practice session the day before” (Walker, 2018)
If you have ever been frustrated with trying to learn something new, or been stuck on a problem, the old adage of “sleep on it” proves to be true.
This also breeds the new axiom of
Practice doesn’t make perfect
Practice Plus Sleep Makes Perfect
“Sleep is the greatest legal performance enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting” (Walker 2018)
The reverse is also true. Lack of sleep leads to impairment of mental function. You have heard before that being sleep deprived is equivalent of being legally drunk. The most important part of that is YOU AREN’T AWARE of the deficiencies.
Most people sleep less hours because they think they will get more done with their day, turns out the REVERSE is actually true.
By getting more sleep and better quality sleep, you will be more alert and you will be more productive. Period. MORE productive than if you are sleep deprived.
Increases Injury Risk
This is one big for me, especially coming from a physiotherapy stand point. There is a perfect linear relationship between how many hours you sleep and your risk of injury.
The less sleep, the higher your injury risk. In fact, if you go from 9 hours to 5 hours sleep, you will have a 60% increase in probability of injury risk! (Walker, 2018)
Makes you think twice about all of those athletes who go out partying the night before a big game…
This is due to stability muscles failing when don’t get enough sleep along with changes to neurological timing and coordination
Do Alcohol and Drugs Help Get You To Sleep?
In a word. No.
Alcohol and Marijuana can put you to sleep quicker in some instances, but they actually block REM sleep.
Sedation is NOT sleep. So watch those night caps…
One final bonus bit of information
Incidences of Heart Attack INCREASE 24% the Monday after the change over to Daylight Savings and DECREASES 21% on the changeover back. (heart.org)
If these Stats aren’t seriously something for you to stand up and take notice, I don’t know what is.
So, there you go. Just by the simple act of getting more sleep you can
- Improve your Test levels up to someone 10 years younger than where you are at the moment
- Decrease your Risk of Injury by up to 60%
- Increase Performance by up to 20-30%
- Improve Fat Loss
- Boost your Metabolism
- Improve your Insulin Sensitivity
- Increase Mental Alertness and Producitivity
- Decrease your risk of Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes Alzheimers. Some of the BIGGEST killers in terms of diseases today.
All of this by NO ADDITIONAL EFFORT ON YOUR PART.
I seriously work my butt off with my clients to even get a FRACTION of these results, when they can EASILY start doing something positive for themselves every day.
This is why it is now such a big part in the SILVER FOX PROGRAM. If you want to learn more click here
Obviously, there are 2 parts to this. You need an increase Quantity of sleep. But, just as important, you want Increased QUALITY. That’s why I’ve put together this helpful little manual below to help you maximise BOTH of these.
As this article is already WAAAAAY too long, you can download the manual here for free if you sign up to our Newsletter. Just hit the link below.
Matthew Walker Why We Sleep (2018)
Effects of sleep restriction on metabolism-related parameters inhealthy adults: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Review article Zhu B, et al. Sleep Med Rev. 2019.
Association between Sleep Duration and Subclinical Thyroid Dysfunction Based on Nationally Representative Data. Kim W, et al. J Clin Med. 2019.
Effects of Two-Week Sleep Extension on Glucose Metabolism in Chronically Sleep-Deprived Individuals. So-Ngern A, et al. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019.
Metabolic and hormonal effects of ‘catch-up’ sleep in men with chronic, repetitive, lifestyle-driven sleep restriction. Killick R, et al. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2015.
Impact of Sleep Deprivation on the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Axis and Erectile Tissue.
Lee DS, et al. J Sex Med. 2019.