"Relax, kick your feet up, you deserve it" is something we often hear at the closing of Friday. And, what we do is completely opposite. For most, Friday is the day that drives people's empty tanks into what I like to call, "burnout." What most people do, is run their energy tanks to- empty.
Afterall, it is the weekend, are you resting and recovering?
Rest and recovery, a common topic here at GP is important for everyone. Yes, everyone! But, those individuals who max their daily output (energy, or as we know it in sports, maximum energy output, not the same as VO2 Max or lactate threshold- although, the body does utilize this for active individuals), are in higher need for longer duration of daily sleep.
Both research and clinical practice studies sleep from various perspectives. Subjective and objective measures are studied to identify brain activity, muscle activity, and eye movement from polysomnography, which is an objective assessment on sleep.
During the process of identifying various patterns during sleep, it led to the progression of understanding the foundation of problematic sleep disorders: Insomnia, sleep-breathing disorder, wake disorders, parasomnias, and sleep-related movement disorders.
The importance that sleep plays, cognitively, helps scientist understand the ability for people to think clearly, be observant, stay focused and concentrate, to retain (memory), and emotional and behavioral regulation. An easy way to consider this information is to imagine yourself sleeping for less than 6 hours, and identify how productive you are, physically and mentally. It is possible that you will become easily bothered or triggered, emotionally by others. Your ability to retain information at school or work might be significantly impacted, and your ability to stay focused and concentrate at sport practice can lead you towards possible injury.
Studies have shown that cognitive performance and vigilant attention declines significantly when one goes over 16 hours of no sleep. Cognitive performance is the ability for one to utilize natural mental abilities like thinking, memorization, reasoning, problem solving, and more. This can lead to possible sleep deficits that are commonly brought on by sleep deprivation. Something we tend to loseley joke about, and something that can unfortunately causes serious health complications. What we do know today, is that the AASM (American Academy of Sleep Medicine) has recommended that individuals should consume at least 7-7.5 hours of sleep.
So, the question you should be asking yourself is, are you getting enough sleep? If the answer is yes, well... then you can still consider reading on, and if the answer is no, then read on!
A lot of people have it. It is possible that insomnia can be caused from other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. First, you must understand the difference. Insomnia is acute or chronic (short or long-term lived) and causes individuals the inability to shut the mind down and go to sleep, or waking in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep. There are several reasons that can cause insomnia. Depression, anxiety, poor exercise and sleep habits are just to name a few. Sleep apnea on the other hand can be caused by craniofacial dysmorphism, or defect of the airway (post nasal drip, allergies, and more). This causes individuals to repeatedly stop breathing while sleeping. Studies have shown a big misconception that significantly overweight individuals are the only people who suffer with this condition. Studies indicate that 67% of people who suffer from this are overweight, meanwhile the remaining portion of that percentage is of normal weight.
Unfortunately, patients who are diagnosed with insomnia, can become depressed. Depression can set in because of the lack of sleep- refer back to the beginning of this write-up. In the event of this happening, patients will be placed on medication, to reduce the depression, but unfortunately, if the psychiatrist is not working with a professional qualified in sleep disorders, it can go unidentified that a patient's antidepressants can be exacerbated due to depression and lack of proper sleep. Typically, when medications stop working, clients should be taken off of them, opposed to switching to a new drug. Hypnotic drugs can cause people to develop a dependence of them. However, insomnia patients show a highly successful turnout with long-term benefits from CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy). This is the process of changing one's somatic arousal (heart racing or heart palpitations, anxiety, and more). The process of medication can help, but only with patients who have acute insomnia. To make sure individuals who have acute insomnia, patients should be closely monitored and ready to be removed any medications so the body does not become dependant of the medication. Chronic cases should not be placed on medication, due to the proven research that these individuals suffer from a more serious situation, and medication should not be used as a Band-Aid for the problem.
A New You!
Athletes- because you are highly active individuals, with stressors to perform at your best, you should consider mindfulness techniques, to help reduce the possibility of sleep disorders disrupting your performance. And, for individuals who are not in sports, you should also consider mindfulness techniques. These techniques can help reduce unwanted stressors from impacting your nightly function and duties! Without the proper amount of rest and recovery, our human bodies can not function properly. Although life is full of ups and downs, when we scale back, kick our feet up on the weekends, and allow time to just be, we engage in mindfulness. This process gives us the stillness that our mind, body, and soul needs to recover. After a long work week full of stressors, you should re-consider going out late nights, eating unhealthy food, just because you need to be around people and don't want to miss out on the fun.
A new perspective is to make sure you allow yourself to do this throughout the week, but also keep in mind that your rest is just as important and needed like food and water. Afterall, going out and having fun is not a necessity to live, it is just a want. So, on this Valentine's Day weekend, take time to love yourself, and start a healthy new routine and get some rest!