Habits: Sleep and Stress

Stimulus + Response = Outcome.

Fatigue and stress are stimuli that everyone experiences. However, the healthy respond differently to in order to achieve better outcomes.

Sleep to Combat Fatigue

The most important habit a healthy person maintains in order to combat fatigue is going to bed and waking up at the same time. Consistent sleep-wake times are important because of two symbiotic biological mechanisms: homeostasis and circadian rhythm.

Sleep-wake homeostasis keeps track of your need for sleep.  The homeostatic sleep drive reminds the body to sleep after a certain time and regulates sleep intensity.  This sleep drive gets stronger every hour you are awake and causes you to sleep longer and more deeply after a period of sleep deprivation.

Circadian rhythms direct a wide variety of functions from daily fluctuations in wakefulness to body temperature, metabolism, and the release of hormones.  They control your timing of sleep and cause you to be sleepy at night and your tendency to wake in the morning without an alarm.  Your body’s biological clock, which is based on a roughly 24-hour day, controls most circadian rhythms.  Circadian rhythms synchronize with environmental cues (light, temperature) about the actual time of day, but they continue even in the absence of cues.

Connection to Combat Stress

The most important habit a healthy person maintains in order to combat stress is that of disconnecting to connect. Carrying stress around without releasing it correlates with weight gain because of two biological hormones: ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin tells you when to eat. When you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin (which makes you hungrier). 

Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating. When are sleep deprived you have less leptin (which doesn’t tell your body to stop eating).

More ghrelin and less leptin is a recipe for weight gain. Not only will you eat more but your metabolism slows down.

Takeaway

When fatigue and stress come, which they will every day, what habits do you have to respond to them.

First, establish a habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Receiving a full-night’s worth of sleep will then help you disconnect from technology and better connect with other important people in your life.

Stimulus + Response = Outcome.

Tyler

WOD

Day 42 (of 50)
For Time:
800m Run
30 Devil’s Presses
800m Run

Other Articles in this Series:
1. Habits: 2021’s 6-Week Challenge
2. Habits: Pull and Push
3. Habits: Plate Method
4. Habits: Macronutrients
5. Habits: Exercise
6. Habits: Eating-on-the-Go
7. Habits: Sleep and Stress
8. Habits: Supplements, Fad Diets, and Mindset
9. Habits: Hermit Crabs

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