Blog post by PPT Trainer, Mary Elasi
Ask any new parent out there how many times they have been told, “your baby grows when they are sleeping”? Pretty important this sleeping business. Babies need it to grow, meanwhile parents of young kids are pulling their hair out trying to get their children to sleep more. Not only for their babies sake, but for their own sanity!!
Fast forward 20, 30, 40 years and that little baby is now a grown adult and guess what? That sleep is just as important. That’s right, you need your sleep for a whole host of reasons, but enter in the extra element of exercise and its crucial that you hit your 7 – 9 hours a night.
Even if you think you are getting by on your current sleep cycle of 3-4 hours, the harsh reality is that you are selling yourself short of performing to your full potential. We are not just talking about in the gym either. Optimal cognitive function – it likes sleep too.
A few months back we addressed the importance of sleep with our clients and broke it to them gently, you want to improve your body composition, you need to sleep. Here is how not enough sleep can impact on you:
- Increased belly fat
- Decreased ability to handle exercise induced stress – Muscular and neural repair/recovery is reduced
- Poor glucose control, decreased insulin sensitivity
- Reduced exercise performance – again through the restriction on repair & recovery
- More likely to be obese (US Study of 32 – 49 year old who slept less than 7hrs)
- Reduced satiety leading to extra calorie consumption
- Decision ability and risk taking
- Ages you
- Increase risk chronic illness
- Increase negative emotion
- Compromised problem solving skills
- Decreased stress management + inflammation
- Reduced motivation
- Poor to bad moods
- Disrupts hormone balance – leptin/ghrelin, Insulin, GH, TSH, Cortisol
Compelling enough? Without sleep you will be moody and cranky, just ask the parents of those babies we referred to earlier in the piece. On top of that you will compromise the effort and time you put into your training.
Even once you have accepted that your 3-4 hours should be 7-9, it’s not always easy to find those hours in the day. This is the really difficult part. Already time poor, how do we find more time to do nothing? That we can’t solve for you, sorry. What we can do though is give some tips on how to implement better habits before you retire for the night. This is a pretty exhaustive and long list.
Pick a few things at a time to address and see if it helps:
- Bedtime ritual/routine
Shower, read a book, stretch, meditate, UNWIND! Implement a ritual that doesn’t include electronic devices and stick to it.
- Consistent Bedtime
Pick a time and try to adhere to it even on weekends where possible
- Sleep in Complete Darkness
Lights out! Ever wondered why we always have the best sleeps in hotel rooms? Total blockout curtains, no light seeping in. Our eyelids can sense the light & this will wake you
- Avoid Blue Lights 1hr Prior to Sleep (computers, iPods, iPhones, TVs)
“Blue light” disrupts the melatonin production (our sleepy hormone)
- Eat Carbs at Dinner
Increase in serotonin release. Seratonin is a calming, sleepy neurotransmitter. Having this released into your system at bedtime can aid sleep.
- Avoid Late Caffeine (not just talking about coffee either, green and black tea are also sources of caffeine)
Even if you think you can handle a late night coffee, try a week without the caffeine, you might be pleasantly rewarded with better sleep quality and wake up fresh and rested.
- Avoid Really Late Training
Try to not train past 8pm, upsets the melatonin and will increase cortisol
- Don’t train excessively
Train Smart! This is a blog all on its own, but in a nutshell you want to get the balance between training, nutrition & recovery right
- Don’t Be Sedentary – move more
- Use Magnesium to Aid Sleep
Many benefits to magnesium supplementation. One such benefit as a muscle relaxant
PPT is dedicated to getting clients like you results through an individualised approach to training and lifestyle change. Want to know how we can help you, click here and one of our team will be in touch.