Don't Sleep On Sleep

Exercise and good nutrition can offset a lot of bad behaviors. But research suggests if you sacrifice sleep, there might be nothing...

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Don’t sleep on sleep

  • The ultimate carbohydrate

  • Fighting loneliness

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Don’t Sleep On Sleep

A great workout might help offset days when you’re not the best with your diet. And eating nutritious foods can help you when you don’t find time for exercise.

But it might be impossible to offset the effects of bad sleep.

Many people debate whether exercise or nutrition is more important (spoiler alert: they both matter), but sleep is often the forgotten component that arguably has the biggest impact. A new study found that when you’re sleep-deprived, even great workouts can’t undo the harm.

Prior research has already suggested that sleep deprivation disrupts your metabolism, workout recovery, workout performance, ability to burn fat, hormones that control your hunger and self-control, and cognition. In other words, when you don’t get enough sleep, it makes it hard to function.

We also know that workouts can boost your mood and improve brain functioning, among many other benefits. So scientists were curious — what happens when you exercise while sleep-deprived? Does the exercise win out…or does sleep deprivation still knock you out?

Turns out, even when performing great workouts, sleep deprivation still harms your cognitive performance, alertness, fatigue, and mood. In the study, participants cut their sleep in half for 5 nights (getting an average of 4 hours per night) — and performed intense workouts — and the decline was still significant.

Every now and then, you might have a bad night of sleep. When it happens, that’s OK. And if you’re a new parent, sleep deprivation is going to be part of your life for a few months. Otherwise, if you want to prioritize your health, control your hunger, recover better, and be in a better mood, aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

The UItimate Carbohydrate

Lots of diets claim you need to cut all carbohydrates. You can do that if you want, but not only is it unnecessary, but doing so might remove an invaluable component of your diet.

That’s because research suggests that fiber might be the secret weapon to losing fat, fighting cancer, improving gut health, controlling hunger, and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

The list of benefits seems almost unrealistic, but the only thing that’s unreal is how common it is that people don’t consume nearly enough fiber. Data from the USDA suggests that as few as 4 percent of men and 12 percent of women meet the recommended amount of fiber per day. For those of you keeping score at home, the recommendation ranges from about 25 to 40 grams of fiber per day.

A massive review of 185 studies found that people who followed higher fiber diets (which was only 25 to 30 grams per day) were nearly 20 percent less likely to develop diabetes and more than 30 percent less likely to die of coronary heart disease.

If you want a place to start, there’s no shortage of high-fiber foods. Try to eat more oats, lentils, beans, edamame, berries (especially raspberries), avocado, nuts, seeds, and even popcorn (just go easy on the butter).

Fighting Loneliness

Some battles you need to fight on your own, but this isn’t one of them. Research suggests that nearly 60 percent of Americans feel lonely — and it’s not just the aftermath of the pandemic. The levels were just as high back in 2019.

Yesterday, Daniel shared his thoughts about the crisis men are going through. While related, the loneliness epidemic doesn’t see gender. And the health risks are worthy of your attention. Research suggests that loneliness increases the risk of depression, personality disorders, cardiovascular health, dementia, and premature death.

Loneliness is complicated because so many people think others perceive them negatively — even when it’s not the case. In reality, most people tend to view others positively. But the gap between perception and reality creates a distance.

If we can close that gap and create more connections, the payoff is tremendous. In an 85-year study conducted at Harvard (yes, 85 years!), social connection and belonging were some of the strongest indicators of a happy and healthy life.

We’re bringing this up because we created this community to help people connect and lift up the world. If you’re feeling lonely, reach out to a friend or family member. Trust us, they want to hear from you. And if you’re reading this and haven’t heard from one of your friends in a while, take 5 minutes and reach out to them. It doesn’t require much effort, and it could be a life-changing action.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell