So, you finally got serious about getting into condition. Into shape. Maybe along with losing weight. You’ve decided on a fitness program. I’m here to tell you that you can’t get there by sitting on your couch and thinking about it (or reading about it, or talking about it)! You need to get off the couch and go do it. That means increasing activity, maybe decreasing calories, and – and this is important, so listen up – getting enough sleep. That’s the part of the equation that those fitness “guru’s” (I use that term loosely, and with some loathing) forget to tell you.
So you start working out at the gym, or lifting some weights at home, or running, or biking, or practicing yoga; and you start eating a decent healthy diet; but you don’t change your (lousy) sleep habits. That’s a formula for failure: without enough quantity and quality sleep time, your body doesn’t have an opportunity to recover. So it doesn’t recover. It doesn’t re-build. And you, frankly, feel like crap.
Sleep and Weight Loss:
Even though you’re trying, you don’t lose weight. In fact, you may even gain weight if you’re not getting optimal sleep during your weight loss efforts! And you don’t get that ‘workout high’ that everyone else talks about.
You feel gypped, cheated. “Where’s my workout high”? “Why isn’t my weight going down”?!
You conclude that working out – Healthy Living – is not for you.
And you go back to sitting on your couch:
SLEEP IS IMPORTANT
Sleep and Your Brain:
In addition to the detrimental effects of poor sleep on your physique, your brain needs sleep too. Without enough quality sleep time:
- Concentration levels drop
- Memory becomes impaired
- Problem solving becomes greatly impaired
- You cannot innovate; you cannot be creative; you cannot think “outside the box:”
- Decision-making abilities are compromised, and the brain falls into old, rigid thought patterns that make it difficult to generate new problem-solving ideas
SO: Give your body (and your mind) a chance to recover and re-build. And to get honed, ripped … beautiful. The way your body (and mind) should be!
After all, your body is the temple for your life.
You can’t trade it in: this is THE ONE that you get.
Make the most of it.
HOW MUCH SLEEP IS ENOUGH?
According to The Mayo Clinic, and the National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute:
Teens: 9-10 hours per day
Adults: 7-8 hours per day; 8-9 hours if you are working out regularly!!
Seriously: if you’re working out, you should be getting 8-9 hours per night! Let me see a show of hands … thought so, NOBODY is getting even 8 hours!
Note that if your sleep is frequently interrupted (perhaps there is a newborn in your family, or maybe you’re an on-call physician), the quality of your sleep is not adequate.
Quality is just as important as quantity.
Do it right this time:
Get enough sleep.
Get great sleep.
Here’s how …
What can you do to Optimize your Sleep Quality?
- Make it dark. Make your bedroom into a “sleep cave.” This maximizes your natural melatonin levels to maximize your sleep. Can’t get the room dark enough? Consider wearing a sleep mask if necessary.
- Make it quiet. If you cannot eliminate those little audio-distractions, consider turning on a fan so the “white noise” can help drown out the noise. Consider using soft foam ear-plugs to achieve the necessary quiet.
- Unplug. Eliminate digitals: leave your phone, tablet, and anything else electronic that chirps, rings, or buzzes, in another room. It may be tempting to keep your smart phone next to your bed for convenience, but research has found that people who do this are woken multiple times during their sleep by their apps or their ringing phone. Put it far away!
- Make it cozy. You must be comfortable. If cozy for you means much firmer than for your bed-partner, place a board under your half of the mattress; use a partial pillow-top if you’re the one who needs it extra soft. Wear loose, soft clothing (if you must wear something). Make sure that you’re comfy!
- Make it cool. People sleep best when it is cool –
usually below 60 or 65 degreesF.
- Make it clean and simple. Remove distractions from your bedroom. Make it your sleep room, not your television-watching room; not your reading room; not your video-game room: ONLY your bedroom. Your SLEEP room! Remove anything from your bedroom that will tempt you to interact with it, instead of doing what you need to do there: sleep!
- Prepare. Stop work, TV, computer, video games, at least one hour prior to your expected bedtime. Give your brain some time to unwind and slow down before heading off to bed. Consider a short, gentle Yoga session (Hatha Yoga is good for this), or perhaps meditation.
Recent studies indicate that inadequate sleep interferes with losing weight; poor sleep may even contribute to weight gain! Your sleep impacts the quality of your life, through your immune system; brain health; and longevity. Great sleep is the original anti-aging remedy.
Follow these sleeping tips and you can avoid being among the 47% of Americans who get less than the needed amount of sleep each night. Get enough quantity and quality sleep, and you will notice benefits in all areas of your life, not just in your fitness program. But especially if you’re working out, you must get sleep. Got sleep?
So: use these sleeping tips to optimize your sleep!
Me? I really like the Binaural Beats CD’s to help cure insomnia:
Even better, I’m LOVING subliminal software to improve my sleep, but also other issues – pain control, reduce stage-fright to improve speaking in front of crowds, and other things. The benefit of this software is that, because I spend so much time during my day on my computer, I’m exposed to the subliminal messages for hours every day. And to customize it for me, I just click on the programs (400 available!!) for the things I want to improve, in order to customize the messages. I think that this software has helped me overcome insomnia more than any other aide. I will write a review soon. In the meantime, check it out:
And for those who can’t sleep due to Restless Leg Syndrome, give this a try: