Sleep The Weight Off: Part 1
Not getting enough rest?
Sleep is important for meeting your weight loss and personal fitness training goals!
This is an article that Mike originally contributed to WDIV Channel 4's "Click on Detroit". You can go to the site directly by clicking here.
When you’re struggling with losing weight, how many times have you said, “well, I need to get more sleep? That will help.”
Most likely not a single instance.
Chances are, you echoed something more down the lines of
“I need to work out more!”
“I need a new training plan!”
“I need to workout 7 days per week, 2 hours per day instead of what I’m currently doing”
It’s very common, and pointing to exercise is the scapegoat when it comes to lack of progress with a weight loss plan. Let’s be honest, working out is the easy part.
Sleep is perhaps even harder, and way too often overlooked (like nutrition, but that’s a different article).
Why Sleep Matters
Research has shown that lack of sleep negatively impacts how the body processes sugar, hunger hormones, insulin sensitivity, and stress hormone levels.
In plain English, these alterations in your body chemistry can lead to weight gain, plateauing of weight loss, and/or negative impacts on your body composition (ratio of lean muscle mass to fat mass).
Okay, So Sleep is Important. How Much Sleep Should I Be Getting?
In an ideal world, you’re getting 8 hours per night. Now, I know that statement may not sit well with you. Hell, it doesn’t sit well with me!
I’m going to go out on a limb and say the reason that it may upset you is that:
Getting 8 hours per night sounds impossible
There are so many variables that play into how much sleep you get (i.e. kids, work, loved ones, etc)
So, what are you to do?
How To Improve Your Sleep Quality & Quantity
The first thing that we need to do is to shift your mindset. Up to this point, sleep has been something that you get in when you can get it. We have to shift from that mindset to a mindset of, “sleep is king”.
Once we start changing our relationship with sleep, now we start looking at creating a framework for our sleep.
Now, let’s set your framework with 5 tips:
Set a bedtime and a waketime and being consistent with them.
If you’re getting less than 7 hours per night, then try bumping up your bedtime by 30 minutes, or extending your wake time by 30 minutes.
Ensure that your bedroom is as dark as a cave.
All electronic lights can be covered. You can purchase light covers here. We mentioned how stress levels can be affected and one of the contributors to this is the artificial light that your eyes are exposed to. The artificial light signals your body that it is still day time and thus can disrupt your sleep cycle.
Make sure that your room is cool.
Anywhere between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit will suffice.
Minimize your exposure to artificial light before bed.
There are a couple of strategies that you can do to be effective with this"
If you’re someone who works on your laptop before bed, then be sure to download f.lux to your laptop. The software is free and like the “Nightshift” feature, it decreases the amount of artificial blue light emitted from your laptop.
Purchase a pair of blue blocker glasses that will help decrease the amount of artificial light that your eyes are exposed to.
Get the TV out of your bedroom. The bedroom is meant for the two S’s. Sleep and... well, you know.
If you have the willpower, then simply set a time where you turn off electronics. No phone, no TV, no laptop. This can be very tough and no judgment from me if you can’t do it. I’d be doing a disservice to you all if I didn’t mention it though.
If you have an iPhone, make sure that your “Nightshift” app is turned on. This will help decrease the amount of blue light emitted from your phone screen
We will be back with part 2 to finish this article out later this week!
Sleep, like nutrition and working out, is an important part of your fitness routine. Our team at COVAL Fitness is here to help you make your goals a reality at the gym and at home. Contact Us to schedule your personal assessment and download our Free 21-Day Kickstart Program!