Stay Healthy & Fit…By Sleeping Like a Baby
The majority of people I train are looking for one of two things, weight loss or improved physical performance. So often we get caught up in the obvious areas that need to be addressed (such as diet and exercise), but one vital and often neglected piece of the puzzle is sleep.
Getting the appropriate amount of sleep can have amazing benefits from overall health to fitness and weight loss. Perhaps the greatest overall benefit of being well rested is the body’s ability to fight disease and infections such as the common cold. This alone is a plus, but added benefits of sleep are increased levels of energy, clearer thoughts, alertness, and improved memory.
From a weight-loss perspective, there is an advantage to adequate and proper rest…you can’t eat while you’re sleeping. For those who get the late night munchies or a sweet tooth, try going to bed earlier. This simple, yet effective trick can cut some extra unwanted calories and leave you feeling better as well.
From a fitness standpoint, rest is always an important consideration. If you want to improve performance, allow for adequate rest for your muscles between workouts and ensure you get enough sleep each night. Although these tips seem obvious, so many of us fail to get the right amount of sleep and therefore, suffer through aches, pains, and irritablilty that we don’t need to endure.
So how much sleep is enough? The National Institute of Health recommends 7-8 hours nightly. This can be tough when you consider full-time work, responsibilities at home such as a family and children, and the endless other tasks that take up our time. One way to increase your sleep and improve your rest is to start with minor changes. Go to bed 15 or 20 minutes earlier than usual. Eventually, this will become the new norm, and you can improve from there.
As far as improving the quality of sleep, avoid eating right before you go to bed, eliminate distractions like unnecessary lights, and reduce the temperature in your home by a degree or two.
Sleeping is your body’s “reboot.” With the right amount of rest, your body is better prepared to handle the tasks of the coming day, and you’ll find that your mood improves – an added bonus for those around you!