Want a surefire way to get slower, weaker, fatter, sicker and poorer? Sleep less than seven hours.

A handful of universal principles guide serious fitness enthusiasts. In one example, weightlifters take it as a matter of faith that squats develop the quads, strengthen the hamstrings and even defuse marital disputes.

Another one? Lack of adequate sleep is destructive.

A study of weightlifters by the Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences at John Moores University in the UK measured partial sleep deprivation against normal sleep. The research showed sleep deprivation has a significant negative impact on bench press, leg press and dead lift exercises, and daily mood checks showed a significant increase in confusion and fatigue.

Sleep is crucial to the physiological, biochemical and cognitive restoration of the body.

But lack of sleep doesn’t just reduce athletic performance and sabotage squat day. It also leaves a dark cloud hanging over daily activities. Headaches abound, brain fog sets in and anxiety spikes. 

Athletes need sleep, and so do proactive investors. Insufficient sleep can materially slow reaction time and impede decision making.

Studies have shown that even a low level of fatigue can impair reaction times as much or more than being legally drunk. Sleep deprivation has an impact comparable to intoxication by alcohol.

Reduced sleep weakens motivation, interferes with focus, impairs memory and slows learning. Without sleep, the brain struggles to consolidate memories and absorb knowledge. Sleep loss alters the brain’s frontal lobe and saps decision-making abilities.

Probabilities make life’s most important rules simple, and here’s an example: Get more than seven hours of sleep every night. 

Jim Schultz, Ph.D., a derivatives trader, fitness expert, owner of livefcubed.com and the daily host of From Theory to Practice on the tastytrade network, was named North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s 2017 Novice Bodybuilding Champion. @jschultzf3