Revealed: Why sleep is a secret weapon for improved fitness
Tired of not getting the best results from your nutrition and exercise plan? You might actually be tired.
My advice? Make time for quality rest. Go to sleep, wake up energized and get the best results from your fitness plan!
A good rest, in my opinion, can sometimes be as beneficial as a good workout. This is especially true if you have a busy, demanding schedule. Today, I want to share with you some of the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep and give you tips to help improve your sleep quality. Insufficient sleep can sabotage even the most disciplined health plan because tiredness and everyday fatigue can often make you fall into what I call the “no results sleepy body cycle.”
A little known secret weapon for fitness: Go to sleep
Improving your sleep quality and creating good sleep habits may help you to improve your body composition and your overall mood. Next time you’re planning an early night but get sidetracked think about how easy it is to find yourself in a vicious circle that leaves you feeling more tired than ever!
- Lack of sleep can create an energy slump that you feed with sugary snacks or caffeine.
- Eating carbohydrates and caffeine late at night can disrupt your sleep or prevent you from falling asleep when bedtime comes around.
- Unhealthy weight gain can make you feel stressed out; high levels of stress can negatively impact your body composition goals and body confidence.
- …then the cycle repeats.
Sleep and lifestyle demands
Many parents set wonderful bedtime habits for their children. A bath, story time, a warm glass of milk… yet for themselves, they collapse on the couch and get very little good-quality sleep. I know this first-hand—as a mom, I’ve been very conscious about setting a good bedtime routine for my kids. However on some occasions, I fall very short of the 6-8 hours of quality sleep I need per night.
My body feels and looks tired when I’m not getting adequate rest. And that’s no good. I bet that you start to feel increasingly lethargic if you aren’t sleeping well too. And poor quality rest means it’s hard to find the energy for a good workout.
Sleep and Fitness
You may be reading this and thinking ‘how are improved sleep habits going to help boost my fitness level and improve my body composition results?’ Here’s a little bit of exercise science for you:
It’s not the actual workout in the gym alone that helps your body to positively evolve and adapt. Exercise actually places stress on your body, and it’s your body’s ability to respond to and rebuild from this stress that creates growth, results and body improvement. This is why nutrition and recovery are an essential part of any good exercise/athletic training routine.
4 good bedtime habits to go to sleep
Create a wind-down routine
I find that a face cleansing routine using warm water and my favorite products gets me into a bedtime frame of mind. I feel as though I’m removing all the dirt and stress from the day. It’s my internal cue to go to sleep after a long day.
Avoid using the computer and TV as part of your bedtime routine as much as possible. The screen on these devices just further stimulates your senses. Sometimes when you’re very tired, you’ll fall asleep with the TV on… and a few hours later, you’ll be disappointed when the noise from the TV wakes you up from a perfect slumber. Instead, calm your mind with reading a good book or listening to soothing music.
Avoid a late night sugar rush
Avoid sugary foods and alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol in particular can be responsible for disrupting the most important part of your sleep cycle and could wake you up in the middle of the night. A better solution would be to try calming your body with simple yoga stretches or start to practice meditation.
It’s important to sleep in a room that’s dark because lights can be stimulating. Exposure to light also affects your natural circadian rhythm. It feels natural to go to sleep when it’s dark and venture out for fresh air when it’s bright. Turn off all of the lights at bedtime. If your sleep environment is naturally lit, or if you’re a night-shift worker, consider installing light-blocking curtains. If you’re a frequent traveller like me, use a good eye mask on your travels. Excess light can disrupt sleep.
I hope my tips on good sleep habits work for you. The next time you need a good excuse to head to bed early, you can say, “I’m going to get a little extra sleep to help build my six-pack!”
If you have any good winding down habits that you think could help people go to sleep and improve their personal fitness level, please share them in the comments section.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.
Find out more at: http://www.DiscoverHerbalife.com
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