Improve sleep for better results

Poor sleep has linked with a host of metabolic conditions, including heart disease and type II diabetes.

And more and more research is coming out linking poor sleep to unwanted weight gain. So here’s an insight into a few of the reason why we need to prioritise getting some quality Z’s.

Have you ever slept poorly for a few nights and then started to feel run down and low on energy?

You may even have gone on to catch a cold or flu that week. Sleep deprivation can decrease your body’s immune function and make you more susceptible to picking up illnesses.

Lack of sleep can also impact on your ability to lose weight.

Studies show that leptin (the hormone that tells us we are full) is reduced with lack of sleep so therefore you are more likely to feel hungry and make poor food choices when you’ve had a bad sleep.

Cortisol (the stress hormone) is often elevated in those that don’t sleep well and high levels of cortisol can inhibit our ability to lose body fat.

After a good nights sleep we often find that we have a better attention span, sharper memory and tend to be more creative.

You have probably experienced this yourself, when after a poor nights sleep and you’ve been less productive at work.

During sleep your body and mind have time to rest and recuperate.

The body’s ability to repair and grow muscle tissue is enhanced during sleep. So as part of any training programme it is key you get enough rest to ensure you are recovering properly between sessions.

Tips to Improve:

Mange your Caffeine intake

Caffeine is a stimulant which can cause you to feel more alert and awake, something we don’t want when trying to get a good nights sleep. Also found in tea and fizzy drinks, caffeine can stay in your system for 4-6 hours. As a general rule try not to consume any caffeine after 4-6hours before bed to improve sleep.

Invest into your sleep

Turn you bedroom into a sacred place of rest and. Invest in a high quality mattress and make your room as dark as possible. TV’s and computers have no place in the bedroom. Keep these things out an hour or so pre-bed, so your body and mind understand that it’s time to switch off and relax.

Have a pre-sleep routine

A pre-sleep routine is a great way to help you switch off mentally. Having a routine will train your mind to know it’s time to shut down. Things like reading in dim light, a relaxing bath with some epsom salts or stretching and deep breathing exercises are all great ways to wind down. If you tend to stress about tomorrow’s busy schedule before sleep try writing a to do list so that your brain can settle.

Switch off all electrical devices

Are you always watching TV before bed?  Or even spending time on your phone or laptop? The bright lights and the concentration it takes browsing or typing are all stimulants, which increase activity in the brain making it harder for you to get to sleep. Turn off all of your electrical devices an hour before bed.

Set your body clock

I can vouch the body clock does exist. Working in the fitness industry I tend to start and finish at different times of the day. It can be difficult to have a sleep routine working different shifts patterns. Avoid this by trying to go to bed at the same time each night and try having an afternoon nap rather then sleeping in on weekends. As a consequence of having a routine you will get a better quality of sleep each night and will find it easier to drop off.