We know that a lack of sleep is linked with serious conditions like heart disease and Type II diabetes. More research is coming out linking poor sleep to gaining unwanted weight so here’s an insight into a few of the reasons why we need to address poor sleep.
Have you ever slept poorly for a few nights and then started to feel run down and low on energy? You may even have gone on to catch a cold or flu that week. Sleep deprivation decreases your bodies immune function and makes you more vulnerable to picking up illnesses.
Lack of sleep will impact on your aability to lose weight. Studies show that leptin (the hormone that tells us we are full) is reduced with lack of sleep so therefore you are more likely to feel hungry and make poor food choices when you’ve had a bad sleep. Cortisol (the stress hormone) is elevated in those that don’t sleep well and high levels of cortisol can inhibit our ability to lose body fat.
After a good nights sleep we have a better attention span, sharper memory and tend to be more creative. You have probably experienced this yourself after a poor nights sleep and you’ve been less productive at work. The body’s ability to repair and grow muscle tissue is enhanced during sleep. So as part of a training program it is key you get enough rest to ensure you are recovering properly between sessions.
Tips to Improve:
1. Mange your Caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant causing you to feel more alert and awake, this is something we don’t want when trying to get a good nights sleep. Also found in tea and fizzy drinks, caffeine is a stimulant and can stay in your system for 4-6 hours. As a general rule try not to consume any caffeine after 4pm to improve your quality of sleep.
2. Invest into your sleep
Turn you bedroom into a sacred place of rest and. Invest in a high quality mattress and make your room as dark as possible. TV’s and computers have no place in the bedroom. Keep these things out so your body and mind understand it’s time to switch off and relax.
3. Have a pre-sleep routine
A pre-sleep routine is a great way to help you switch off mentally before bed especially if you find that you struggle in the late hours and can’t get to sleep. Having a routine that you perform constantly will train your mind to know it’s time to shut down. Things like reading in dim light, a relaxing bath with some epsom salts or stretching and deep breathing exercises are all great ways to wind down. If you find you tend to stress out about tomorrow’s busy schedule before sleep try writing a to do list to ensure you are organised and allow your brain to feel at ease.
4. Switch off all electrical devices
Are you always watching TV before bed, or even spending time on your phone or laptop? The bright lights and the concentration it takes browsing or typing are all stimulants increasing activity in the brain and making it harder for you to get to sleep. Turn off all of your electrical devices an hour before bed.
5. Set your body clock
Having experienced this myself I can vouch the body clock does exist. Working in the fitness industry I tend to start and finish at different times of the day. It can be difficult to have a sleep routine working different shifts patterns. Avoid this by trying to go to bed at the same time each night and try having an afternoon nap rather then sleeping in on weekends. As a consequence of having a routine you will get a better quality of sleep each night and will find it easier to drop off.