I made a conscious decision a few days ago to go to sleep earlier. My chickens get fussy by six in the morning, so I need to get up and let them out. That’s no problem usually; but since I’m on holiday, I’ve been going to bed later than usual. The result? I’ve been running on about five to six hours of sleep for a couple of weeks now. I knew this was not good for me, but I closely re-watched a Joe Rogan podcast with Matthew Walker last week. Their discussion really brought the serious dangers of poor sleep habits back to the fore. At one point in their talk, they discussed the link between lack of sleep and various morbidities:
Walker argues that we need at least seven hours of sleep. Two nights ago, I got a bit over seven hours. We also ate significantly earlier than usual. My better half and I had become positively Spanish in our eating habits (sitting down at 8:00 or 8:30); for the last two nights, however, we have sat down at 6:30 for dinner. Last night, I was asleep by 10:30 and up at 6:15. I also made 5:00pm my cut off time for coffee.
Results? Well, I feel a hell of a lot better for one. But more surprising was the significant effect it has had on my blood glucose. Readers will know that I had a bit of a road bump with my blood glucose last week. After skipping a few meals and being a little more disciplined, I had got my blood in a better, but not great, range in the mornings: 7.6 to 8.2 mmol/L. However, my reading yesterday morning was 6.8 and today it was 7.2. I haven’t changed my diet at all and, if anything, I’ve exercised less in the last two days. I chalk this improvement up to more sleep and a moderately tighter eating window.
As I wrote recently, poor sleep habits can be inflammatory and lead to rising blood glucose levels. Indeed, Walker’s book mentions that poor sleep over a sustained period can raise blood glucose in non-diabetics to the point that they become pre-diabetics.
I wasn’t expecting a blood glucose drop from improved sleep, I changed my bad habit because of the bigger picture outlined by Dr Walker above. Improved sleep and a moderately tightened eating window seem to have had a significant effect on my blood. I’ll write an update about this next week. As I said a month ago, I’m also planning an experiment on the effects of a very tight eating windows. Watch this space.