Sleep is your secret weapon for a happier, healthier body. Here’s how to turbocharge your sleep.
There’s a powerful health and weight loss tool we all have access to every day, right here in our own homes. And did I mention it’s free of charge and comes with a host of health benefits?
Now before we go on, please understand that I know it’s not always easy to sleep well. Stress, shift work, kids, and babies are just some of the reasons many people struggle to sleep well.
In this article, I’ll detail the many ways in which quality sleep will benefit your health, weight loss, and body composition. Then I’ll give you my best tips for improving your sleep – starting tonight.
What Is “Good Sleep”?
General guidelines suggest 7-9 hours of quality sleep a night.
But that doesn’t mean 7-9 hours in bed.
It means deep, restful sleep with minimal disruptions.
Did you know that it’s better to get at least one of your 7-9 hours before midnight – particularly for cognitive health – if your schedule allows (1)
Sleep And Your Hormones
During sleep, your body repairs and replaces cells to help you recover from the day’s activities.
But the benefits go deeper than that.
Sleep is also when your body releases important hormones (including growth hormone which is crucial for building muscle and losing fat) and decreases others like the “stress hormone” cortisol.
Sleep And General Health
Your sympathetic nervous system relaxes during sleep, so we feel less stressed during the following day.
Getting enough sleep even has a positive impact on blood pressure.
Even your immune system benefits from good sleep, releasing proteins called cytokines which help the body fight inflammation and infection.
Sleep For Weight Loss
Your sleep duration and quality have a big impact on how easy you’ll find it to lose weight and keep it off.
This is down to hormones, energy, and even your ability to make healthy choices the next day.
Research shows us that people who sleep fewer hours have a harder time losing weight and will probably eat more calories the next day, even if they’re not aware of it. (2)
There is a direct link between sleep loss and increased risk of obesity.
You’ll have higher levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, less of the “satiety hormone” leptin, and your appetite will feel higher.
Pretty damning stuff! (3)
How Sleep Supports Healthy Habits
When you get enough sleep on a regular basis, you will wake up feeling more energised, less stressed, and more resilient.
You’ll be more likely to stick to your exercise plans (because you’ll have the physical and mental energy) and less likely to choose stodgy, quick-fix comfort foods.
You’ll feel more positive and fired up to complete other healthy habits like walking, eating a healthy evening meal, and getting to bed on time.
Good sleep really is the start of a positive upwards spiral!
7 Ways To Sleep Better
1.) Set a regular bedtime (ideally before 11 pm)
2.) Work back from your wake-up time so you get 7-9 hours
3.) Eliminate light from inside and outside your room (try blackout blinds, and switch off electronic lights).
4.) Keep your room cool, dark, restful, and as clutter-free as possible.
5.) Invest in a good mattress and bedding.
6.) Wind down at least 30 minutes before bed by dimming the lights, reading, or doing meditation.
7.) Leave your phone outside the bedroom to remove any temptation to scroll the screen in bed.
The blue light from the screen alters your brain chemistry. E-readers have screens that cut out the blue light (and they don’t let you on the internet!)
Try these steps for yourself and let me know what improvements you notice in your life! I think you’ll be shocked at the difference getting more sleep makes to your life.
Until Next week, stay happy and stay healthy,
‘The number one rated Personal Trainer In Henley and Oxfordshire’
References from today’s blog: