In 2005 I was well into my first decade of helping people get quality sleep, and I decided to visit all the GP’s in Nelson, NZ (my home at the time) to let them know about my work.
It was quite an experience. A few of the doctors became clients, and one wise fellow shines bright in my memory.
He was an older man who welcomed me into his clinic with smiling eyes. Then, after listening to me explain how I was helping people sleep well, he nodded and proclaimed:
“Sleep should be our top priority when it comes to health. Everyone focuses on nutrition and exercise, but without quality sleep, it’s impossible to eat well and exercise beneficially.”
I’d had the same perspective for many years, but it was the first time I’d heard it stated so clearly by another.
When we’re sleep-deprived, we make poor food choices and lack digestive power. Because sleep loss causes impairments in glucose metabolism and appetite regulation, increasing the risk of weight gain and diabetes.
Furthermore, there’s a bidirectional relationship between exercise and sleep; Lack of sleep results in lack of exercise and vice versa.
Yet, sleep-deprived people often exercise at the wrong time or exert themselves excessively—in an attempt to tire themselves out—which further strains their adrenals and worsens sleep.
In a nutshell—
Eating well when we’re sleep deprived is more or less impossible, and we’re also likely to gain weight from lack of shut-eye.
Exercising beneficially is uber challenging when our sleep isn’t up to scratch, which further contributes to poor sleep.
We are in the midst of a global sleep epidemic that desperately needs our attention.
Without quality sleep, the other two primary pillars for vibrant health suffer, as does the quality of our life and work.
Give yourself (or your team) the gift of great sleep.