We all know how important sleep is and just how awful it is to our health and wellbeing when we don’t get enough. But did you know that having a sufficient sleep has a huge role to play in weight loss and fitness? That’s right. If you’re planning on hitting the gym more often to get more buff, you better hit the sack more too. You will get better results if you sleep enough when you’re also training.
How it works
A lot of physiologic changes takes place during sleep and here are some that influence your training for stronger muscles.
- Your blood pressure and body temperature drop, and your breathing slows down. Your muscles also relax and get more blood supply, which promotes healthy muscles. What’s more is that your body releases hormones, such as growth hormones, which promote muscle development as well.
- Another way sleep can help your training better is that it keeps you mentally alert the next day. Obviously, if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be all pumped up to work out. It’s also not safe to exercise, especially to lift weights when you’re sleep deprived. When you sleep, your body releases some hormones that promote alertness during the day. It helps not just with exercising, but other activities too.
How to get more sleep
Now that we’ve established how important sleep is for fitness, let’s talk about how you can get more quality sleep. For adults, a healthy amount of sleep is around 7-9 uninterrupted hours. Unless it is a medical issue, achieving this is just a matter of self-discipline and control. Here’s how you can get more sleep:
#1 Get the right stuff for your bedroom
One of the main things that will help you get to sleep is if your room is conducive to sleep.This means it’s free from noise, not too cold or hot, and free of bright lights. You will also need the right stuff, like the right mattress, pillows, and sheets for your comfort. Don’t scrimp on these things because you’ll just end up spending more on repairs, replacements, and upgrades for poor quality.
When looking for the perfect mattress and pillow, try to find a nice balance between firm and soft. Too firm or too soft can rob you of a good night’s rest and give you body aches and bad posture. I recommend memory foam pillows and mattresses. They offer great support that’s great for your spine and neck, and they are comfortable.
For night shifters, you will need nice thick curtains to block daylight or eye pads to help you out. If noise is a problem, try earplugs.
#2 Stick to a schedule.
As much as possible, be consistent with following a schedule. This includes the time you eat, the time you work out and the time you sleep and wake up. It won’t be easy, but if you’re serious about reaching the goals you’ve set, then you can make it work.
- It’s not a good idea if you eat too close to bedtime since it will
- It’s also not a good idea if you exercise too close to bedtime because it elevates your temperature and increases your heart rate. These effects prompt your body to release epinephrine. Though that’s one reason you exercise in the first place, it’s not good to get at night because it can keep you wide awake when you should be sleeping.
#3 Shut it down.
Nowadays, what’s keep most people up is the cell phones, tablets, or laptops and the internet. If you’re serious about getting sleep and getting fit, you will shut it down. Set another time to check all your social media accounts. If you must keep it on in case of emergencies, then turn it upside down. But the whole point is to not use it at all when in bed.
#4 Watch what you eat and drink
We already mentioned that you shouldn’t eat close to bedtime, but you also have to watch what you eat and drink.
- Obviously, you want to avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and some teas. You can have them early in the day, but try to avoid it after 2 pm if you don’t want trouble sleeping.
- Avoid food that tends to keep you awake like chocolate, which may have caffeine too. Also, you shouldn’t eat food that takes longer to digest, especially so close to bedtime. If you must have it, have it a couple of hours before bedtime.
- Even though alcohol is a depressant and can initially cause you to fall sleepy, you should still avoid it. The long term effects are not good, and it doesn’t promote quality sleep.
#5 Take a hot shower
Not too close to bedtime, though, because you want some time to cool down. A hot shower can elevate your body’s core temperature which promotes sleep. Do it at least an hour and a half before bedtime.
Sleep plays a major role in the success of your fitness goals. Sleep can be hard to get by, especially as adults. But with the right interventions, you can get back your healthy dose of a snooze so you can get the most of your workouts too. It won’t be easy, but if you want it bad enough, you can make it work. Discipline and hard work will take you far.