Recent studies have shown that Singapore is among the cities in the world with the least hours of sleep, clocking an average of 6 hours and 32 minutes a day and ranking third behind Tokyo and Seoul.[1] We are known for our gruelling work schedules, along with the well-established culture of working long hours. Often, we find ourselves burning the midnight oil, psyching ourselves with the infamous phrase “No problem! Sleep is for the weak.” in order to get the job done or to getting a little too much “smartphone time” to ourselves before finally going to bed.

Man yawning over the computer

Our common enemy: The Alarm Clock (am I sleeping well)?

Do you find yourself setting at least 3 alarm timings on your mobile phone and end up being on “snooze” most of the time? By subconsciously turning the alarm off when they ring, we are not getting enough sleep. While 8 hours is generally recommended for everyone, we all need different hours of sleep to be sufficiently rested. We have a natural sleep cycle and we should always try and go to bed and wake up at the same time. In fact, if you are sleeping well, you won’t find the need for an alarm clock at all!

What happens when we don’t get enough sleep? 

While sleep seems the easiest to disregard simply because we seem to be doing ‘nothing’ when it sleep, this is not true! Sadly, many of us are inclined to giving up sleep in favour of the other activities without realizing how detrimental this is to our body and mind.

Short-run effects of sleep deprivation:

  • Limits ability to learn: Most of us would remember dozing-off in lessons during our schooling days, awaking to find our notes left empty and struggling to keep-up. Indeed, it is proven that the lack of sleep affects our memory and adversely affects our cognitive functions! [2]
  • Becoming very emotional: Think that you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or feeling unusually anxious and easily provoked? This simply shows that you lack sleep. Sleep loss challenges emotional control and creates havoc with our emotions!
  • Impaired exercise performance: Sleeping allows our muscles to repair and rebuild themselves. Lack of sleep can negatively impact our fitness efforts and we struggle to maintain our normal level of workout intensity due to the lack of sufficient energy. Sleep to get a more productive day at work, during your workouts and life!

Long-term dangers of sleep deprivation:

  • Cardiovascular Disease: Getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night increases your risk of developing heart diseases by 48% and a stroke by 15%.[3] Lack of sleep can even result in kidney disease and dementia!
  • Obesity: Take note! Insufficient sleep causes us to feel more stressed, which encourages the production of the hormone cortisol in our body. This hormone causes us to crave high-carbohydrate foods, and then deposits those carbs as fat around your belly!
  • Compromised immune system: When we don’t get enough sleep, we experience a decrease in white blood cells, and thus become more vulnerable to viruses, and even some autoimmune diseases such as asthma. Hence, besides eating healthy and exercising regularly, sleep is just as essential a factor to living a healthy life!

Lack of sleep is affecting your fitness
Simple ways to get better sleep:

  • Exercise regularly!
  • Avoid taking naps during the day as this disrupts your sleep cycle.
  • Do not go hungry or starved before bed. This means having a fulfilling and nutritious dinner to avoid late-night snacks!
  • Sleep and wake-up at the same time every day, yes, even during the weekends.
  • Create a comfortable environment to sleep, so keep your phones and laptops aside and allow your body to wind down before bed.

Sleep is easily within our control and is essential for a happier and healthier you! FuelFit wants to remind you to listen to your body, get a good night’s rest and recharge! “The foundations of good health are good diet, good exercise and good sleep, but two out of three doesn’t get you there,” — Dr. Anne Calhoun, neurology professor, University of North Carolina.[4] Let us strive for all three!