There’s a big difference between a sleepless night or two and sleep deprivation. One can make you a little grumpy, the other can actually give you health problems.

Sleep deprived manIf you don’t know the difference, or you regularly wake up at night, then you need to read this article. You’re not just going to learn about what sleep deprivation is, you’re also going to discover how to beat it!

Don’t forget that sleep is just part of the process of improving your health.

There are many elements and we, at the Fit Father Project, can help you to navigate your way through them all.

Whether you’re hoping to lose weight, build muscle, or improve your health, we can help.

Don’t take my word for it!

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What Is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is simply not having enough sleep. It happens to the best of us.

sleep deprivation from watching late moviesYou’ve decided you’ll go to bed at 10.30 pm but there’s a good movie on and you don’t get to bed until midnight.

Your body will be sleep deprived.

The good news is that this is just one night and your body isn’t going to suffer, for sleep deprivation to be an issue it needs to be a longer-term issue.

It should be noted that going to bed is not the same as getting sleep.

You can be in bed for 10 hours every night but only getting 4 hours of sleep; that is sleep deprivation.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that adult men get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

If you get less than this then you’ll be suffering from sleep deprivation. The extent of the issue will depend on how much you’re under the recommended amount of sleep.

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

You won’t be surprised by some of these symptoms, but you may not realize the number of ways sleep deprivation can affect you.

    • Tiredness
sleep deprivation tirednessIt’s not surprising that you’re tired because you haven’t had enough sleep!

You can catch up on your sleep but if you have been sleep deprived for an extended period of time it could take some time to correct the balance.

    • Being Grumpy
When you’re tired you’re irritable and it’s often those closest to you that suffer.

It’s simply an effect of being less able to concentrate on things or deal with issues.

    • Difficulty Concentrating
When your body doesn’t get enough sleep your brain isn’t given enough time to process the events of the day and regenerate itself.

In short, you’ll feel foggy and will struggle to concentrate on anything for an extended period of time.

    • Increased Appetite
Research shows that shorter periods of sleep don’t give your body enough time to regulate its hormones.

The result is too much ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and not enough leptin, the feeling full hormone.

This means you’ll feel hungrier when you’re tired.

    • Aching Muscles
aching muscles from sleep deprivationYour body repairs cell damage when you sleep.

If you don’t sleep enough then not all the damage can be repaired, leaving you with aching muscles and limbs.

If you’re working out as well then you’re making the situation worse!

    • Headaches
Headaches are often linked with brain fog and a lack of sleep.

Although science isn’t exactly sure why this happens, research does confirm that a lack of sleep will encourage headaches to happen.

    • Forgetfulness
I forget why this happens….

No, seriously, studies show that a lack of sleep prevents memories from moving into the prefrontal cortex.

Instead, they stay in the hippocampus, making it much harder for you to recall the information.

It’s Affect On Your Health

Time spent sleeping is when your body recovers and repairs damage from the day.

Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis means your body is going to suffer.

Here are the most common issues associated with poor sleep:

    • Weight Gain
sleep deprivation leads to weight gainYour increase appetite means you’re going to eat more. Eating more than your body needs will result in weight gain.

Unfortunately, weight gain then leads to a whole host of other issues.

    • Increased Risk of Age-Related Diseases
As we age there is an increased risk of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.

Your risk level is affected by your genes, but, it is also affected by your weight.

A lack of sleep causes weight gain and increases the likelihood o you contracting these diseases.

In addition, the more weight you gain the less you’re likely to exercise, this also increases the risk of age-related diseases.

    • Depression
Because your body is not getting enough rest, it is likely that the neurochemicals in your brain are affected.

These are what regulate your mood and is likely to make you feel depressed.

Unfortunately, this can then lead to a problem sleeping which starts a vicious circle.

    • Reduced Immune System
sleep deprivation and gut healthIf your body doesn’t have enough time to repair itself then it won’t be able to function at 100% efficiency.

That means it will be less able to fight off disease and other infections.

A reduced immune system can lead to a huge array of issues, if you frequently catch colds or flu then you probably need more sleep.

The sooner you catch up the better!

Beating Sleep Deprivation With These Easy Tips

It should be noted that sleep deprivation can be caused by health issues such as sleep apnoea or even the medications you’re taking.

However, in the majority of cases, it is simply connected to bad sleeping habits.

But you now know you have bad sleeping habits, it’s time to find the cure!

Fortunately, there are actually a number of ways you can create good bedtime habits:

Set Your Bedtime

The first step in your battle must be to set your bedtime and stick to it!

sleep deprivation sleepOf course, you have a life and if you are having a special night out, you can’t be in bed at 10 pm.

But, if you go to bed late make sure you catch that sleep up at the weekend, stay in bed longer and don’t turn your alarm clock on.

To set your bedtime simply count back 7-9 hours from when you need to get up.

The more times you currently wake at night the closer to 9 hours you should be, or more if you like!

Keep It Consistent

You need to stick to your bedtime and rise time every day, even when you’re not at work.

This ensures your body becomes accustomed to your sleeping habits and it will get better at sleeping straight through.

As mentioned, if you have a special event, sleep in to compensate but this shouldn’t be an excuse to go to bed late every night.

The more consistent you are the easier your body will find it to go to sleep and stay asleep.

Develop a Bedtime Routine

Preparing for bed is as important as going to bed!

Your body needs to know that it’s time to go to sleep it will help it to distress and start the sleep process.

To do this you need to create a habit, it should be one that works for you.

This may be turning the television off, having a wash and reading in bed for 30 mins.

Alternatively, you may turn the television off, wash, get your clothes ready for the morning, and then climb straight into bed.

It doesn’t matter what routine you choose, as long as it suits you and your needs.

The consistency of it will help your body to prepare for sleep.

De-stress

There is no doubt that we live in a very stressful world. People expect things to happen instantly, this places pressure on you to deliver.

sleep deprivation and stress is true regardless of what job you do, deadlines are everywhere.

This is why it is so important to take time out.

Excess stress is linked with an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, it’s important to reduce your stress levels

It’s worth noting that a lack of sleep prevents your body from regulating your stress hormone, making your stress levels worse.

To de-stress you can try meditating, yoga, or any other activity that takes your mind of everyday things, even reading.

Lowering your stress levels will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Lower The Temperature

You probably sleep under the covers, which helps to keep your body snug.

However, you may want to consider switching to a lighter cover and turning the heat down in your room.

Studies suggest that warmer rooms make it more likely that you’ll wake during the night.

This is because your body temperature drops when you sleep if it rises because of the heat of the room you’re likely to wake up again.

In summer turn the air-con up, in winter, turn the heating down a few degrees; you’ll get better sleep.

Skip Electronic Devices Before Bed

Blue light tells your brain that it’s time to wake up, encouraging it to release less melatonin.

sleep deprivation from smartphonesMelatonin is the hormone that regulates your sleep, if you don’t have enough of it at bedtime then you’re likely to have a disrupted night’s sleep.

To help you sleep better try to avoid electronic screens for at least 1 hour before bed.

If this really isn’t possible then you can use blue light glasses, this will help to reduce the effects of blue light and maintain your circadian cycle.

Avoid Exercising Before Bed, (but do it during the day)

You should feel pretty good after exercise and ready to take on the world.

However, exercising right before bed could leave you feeling pumped and unable to sleep!

Avoid exercise for 1-2 hours before bed. But, that doesn’t mean avoid exercise altogether!

You should exercise earlier in the day.

This will help to create a positive mood, discourage weight gain, and tire your body, which will make it even easier to get to sleep and stay asleep!

If you’re new to exercise then stick to physical activity and work up to more formal exercise.

But, if you’re used to exercising then try our free 24-minute workout!

Say No to Caffeine and Alcohol

You probably already know this!

Caffeine is a stimulant and one of the worst things that you can have before bed as it will keep your brain active, making it harder to fall asleep.

Alcohol is often associated with falling asleep. However, drinking it dehydrates you and increases the likelihood of you waking up during the night, disrupting your sleep.

That’s just as bad as going to bed too late!

It’s best to avoid both within a couple of hours of your bedtime.

Color Your Room

You should consider what color your bedroom is.

color your roomBright and bold colors will make it harder for your mind to relax and you get the sleep you need.

You may need to consider repainting your room!

In addition, consider how dark it is at night, in general, the darker it is the better.

Get Some Support

Sleep is essential for your good health and even for success in life.

If you’re not getting enough sleep its essential that you take steps today to change this.

You should be aware that not everyone is the same, if you currently only get 5 hours sleep a night and don’t have any of the above sleep deprivation symptoms, you may be getting enough sleep already.

But, the majority of men need between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

To help you in your journey it’s a good idea to enlist the support of other fathers who are undertaking the same journey as you.

Join the FF30X program today and connect with men seeking to improve their sleep and their health.

It’s essential to remember that the two things are combined.

Just as exercise helps you to lose weight with a balanced diet, getting the right support will help you to change your sleep patterns and get the amount of sleep you need.

You will literally be a changed man!

Your new friend and health coach,

stuart-headshot

Stuart Carter, Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1

C.O.O, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Stuart gained his Diploma in Personal Training & Sports Medicine through Premier Global, back in 2001. In 2018, he completed his Level 1 Precision Nutrition qualification.

Throughout his career in Fitness, Stuart has trained hundreds of clients, worked in almost every position in the industry, and ran his own successful training studio.

After a hiatus away from the Fitness industry, working in Corporate Management and Finance, Stuart returned to what he loves… Fitness! This return led to a chance meeting with Dr. Balduzzi, and a place in the Fit Father Project team.

Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 18 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.

 
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