This post focus’ on the importance of proper sleep and rest, and how body composition and hormones can be affected with reduced sleep cycles.
When was the last time you got 7-8 hours sleep?
In 2003 it was estimated that in America alone there are 50-70 million people who suffer from chronic sleep disorders.
Sleep related disorders are often overlooked. This might be due people underestimating the true detriments of poor sleep, and therefore not linking it to any of their other symptoms.
Looking at this in terms of fitness goals, its important to understand how you can reduce your appetite and help stop overeating simply by paying attention to how long you sleep.
Leptin and Ghrelin are the hormones in the body that control our hunger and fullness levels. Without these 2 hormones we’d have no way on knowing when to eat and when to stop.
Leptin is involved monitoring your appetite. It is a chemical which tells your brain that you are full and should stop eating. If Leptin decreases from sleep deprivation it causes a state of hunger, even if you aren’t actually ready to eat.
Ghrelin is associated with sleep and weight management and is the opposite of Leptin. This hormone tells the brain when you need to eat next. Lack of sleep can increase Ghrelin levels, resulting in the body thinking it’s hungry and calling out for more food to function.
With this knowledge in mind, if we pay closer attention to our sleep consistency, we can work more efficiently towards goals of fat loss, and optimising our results in the gym.
How to apply better sleep habits:
- Set a time you want to go to bed and stick to it. Work backwards from when you need to get up and make sure it is the right amount of hours. - Switch off any lights in your room early on. Ban any blinking lights from the telly or loud ticking clocks. - Avoid screens! Don’t look at your phone/tablet/laptop/telly whilst in bed, read a book instead. - Have a nightly routine you follow to prepare for bed to let your body know it’s is time to settle down. - Don’t consume caffeine or alcohol near bed time.
When it comes to deciding the time you should go to bed, make sure to give yourself at least 6 hours, no less, to help control hormones and improve the way you look and feel. The ideal amount is 7-9hrs though, which will maximise your quality of sleep and brain function as well.
Initially the routine of making yourself go to bed at the same time may be difficult. Like anything you want to change for the better it takes patience and discipline to form a healthy habit and see the benefits.
Getting enough sleep could be difference between seeing positive body composition changes weekly; ignoring your poor bedtime habits could be making the process harder than needs be.
The recommendations are generalised because there are those (lucky) people who get 5hrs and feel just fine with no side effects. If you are one of these people who only get 6hrs and still perform well in all areas including work and the gym, that’s great! Perhaps though, a useful experiment might be to purposefully increase the amount you sleep to the recommended optimum amount, and notice if it does have any positive impacts on your day to day living or work ethic. There tends to be an individual amount of sleep which means you are functioning at your best which is different for every person.
‘Trial and improvement’ is my advice to finding the sweet spot.
If you need a helping hand to get started becoming the best version of you in 2018, simply drop me an email and we can discuss my personalised online training programme or my in-person sessions. Together we can make those lifetime goals a reality!
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