Why Prioritize Sleep in Dubai

Sleep is one of ingfit's 4 pillars of health with good cause, and in the UAE with Dubai's always-on fast paced environment, it's important to be reminded WHY we sleep and that those of us who DO are in fact better placed to succeed than those who don't.

09-Mar 2020, by Bronwyn MacRitchie

Everything Seems Better After a Good Night's Sleep

Never a truer word spoken for most human beings, however in today’s world most adults, and increasingly, children, find themselves living in a consistent state of low-level sleep deprivation. In Dubai, the city that never sleeps, this becomes even more of an issue when trying to keep up with the fast paced, always on lifestyle!

Too many of us view sleep as a luxury and believe it is a sacrifice we simply have to make in order to be successful and still maintain a social life or be good parents.

Science is only now beginning to understand and document the full extent of the damage this deprivation causes us, and and our children.

While there are plenty of tips and tricks from ingfit on how to improve your sleep (check out IG and our FB Group Keto and Primal Health UAE if you haven’t already) in this article I’m going to focus solely on WHY you SHOULD be following those and making sure that you prioritize your 8 hour goal no matter what.

The reasons are in fact so varied and run so deep that Matthew Walker managed to write an entire book about them, which I highly recommend to all of you (also available as an Audible book, my current preferred method of information consumption), ‘Why We Sleep.’ You can also have a listen to Matthew being interviewed by Joe Rogan, Peter Attia and Chris Kresser if you want to take a deeper dive into the subject.

Instead of aiming to write my own book I’m going to give you my current top 5 reasons for simply refusing to compromise on sleep (except for very... and I really do mean VERY... special occasions).

1. A Lack of Sleep Decreases Likelihood of Healthy Food Choices and Increases Appetite

A variety of studies have been done on small groups of people where they were offered a wide selection of food after being well rested and again after being deprived of sleep (1,2,3).

People were consistently more likely to desire and to eat significantly more calories and choose higher reward value food (highly processed foods filled with poor quality fat and sugar) after less sleep.

Sleep deprivation in other larger but less controlled studies in adults and adolescents has also consistently been associated with higher calorie consumption and weight gain (4,5)

As a person who has walked a complicated journey with food and health, life presents me with enough food and craving challenges without needing to reduce my capacity to make the highest choices for myself. I prefer to start a day well rested and with my best chance of staying kind to my body no matter what I’m offered.

After only a SINGLE NIGHT of 4 hours sleep, insulin resistance was increased in multiple metabolic pathways when they retested subjects.

2. Sleep Deprivation/Deficiency Increases Insulin Resistance

Various studies have linked sleep apnea with insulin resistance (6,7). However, more recently studies are beginning to look at sleep deprivation as a standalone factor impacting insulin resistance in otherwise healthy adults.

One study (8) gave 9 men and women an oral glucose tolerance test after a full night of sleep, and they had completely healthy responses, and then restricted their sleep. After only a SINGLE NIGHT of 4 hours sleep, insulin resistance was increased in multiple metabolic pathways when they retested them.

Numerous other studies (9,10,11) have restricted sleep for two or more nights and found an even greater impact, however more research is required.

Coming from a genetic profile with increased risk of insulin resistance and knowing that coffee and stress alone raise my own blood glucose, sleep is a lever I would rather not play with in terms of aiming for a level and steady blood insulin response, not only for weight management, but also longevity and hormone regulation.

3. Sleep Deficiency/Deprivation is Correlated with Metabolic Disease

The question bares asking, which came first, the chicken or the egg. The sleep disruptions or the metabolic disease. However, if it’s within our capability to increase our healthfulness in one area we can impact, the cascade of benefits will likely impact others.

Sleep curtailment is repeatedly strongly correlated with metabolic disease in its many forms, and with the underlying state of inflammation in the body which makes the development of these diseases more likely (12,13,14). This study (15) identifies a causal relationship between sleep restriction and metabolic disease.

4. Maximizing my Productivity, Creativity and Emotional Intelligence

One of the primary functions of sleep, especially REM sleep, the dreaming state, appear to be the assimilation of all the learning and emotional experiences of the day, and those of previous days which require further attention (16). Without allowing our brains this time to go back over the things we have learned we are impairing our capacity to master them (17). In fact, studies on individuals have been performed where they are taught a sequence of tasks, then allowed to sleep, and with less practice than sleep deprived individuals are able to perform the series with far greater efficiency, accuracy and ease than those who practiced harder but slept less (18). Individuals’ ability to respond to situations with objectivity and appropriate emotional reactivity has also been shown to be greatly improved (19).

I like to be at my best on a day to day basis in my job and in my personal life, to be my highest self with those around me and to perform at my maximum capacity in my business, and since sleep is a key factor in accomplishing those goals, I don’t compromise on it

5. Being a Considerate and Responsible Human

Sleep deprivation (described here as over four days of sleeping 6 hours a night or less) impairs human’s responsiveness severely (20,21,22). Some studies even show the effect to be as significant as alcohol consumption (23). This means such humans are as dangerous behind the wheel of a car as people who have been drinking.

And even scarier is that after people were tested for responsiveness and reflexes, and had performed significantly worse than after a good night’s sleep, they do not perceive themselves as being less capable than after without sleep deprivation (24).

So we aren't even aware of how poorly we are functioning.

This is not a risk I feel comfortable taking with my own safety, that of my passengers, and that of the other drivers on the road.

So really...

I could go on... and on and on... but these 5 are enough to keep me mindful of prioritizing my 8 hour sleep goal every night and, more importantly, not feeling guilty or lazy for downing my tools in the evening or spending too much time in bed!

Reference List

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms3259?message-global=remove&cmsPreview=1
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/ijo2013114
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0012369213604535
  4. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/36/7/981/2453923
  5. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/33/9/1201/2454639
  6. https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/ajrccm.165.5.2103001
  7. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13813450802364627
  8. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/95/6/2963/2598810
  9. https://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/1379773/impaired-insulin-signaling-human-adipocytes-after-experimental-sleep-restriction-randomized
  10. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00660.2005
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022347606008341
  12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0033062008000911
  13. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/obr.12503
  14. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0149763416302184
  15. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11886-017-0916-0
  16. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1087079205001231
  17. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4939-6578-6_13
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3314699/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4888142/
  20. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2869.1999.00127.x
  21. https://www.pnas.org/content/108/27/11285/tab-figures-data
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5627640/
  23. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1389945707004480
  24. https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/2/14/14ra3.short

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