A Major Key to Our Health, but possibly the most frequently overlooked

Many people don’t recognize the link between our sleep and our fitness goals.  

We create new health and fitness goals, we start eating better and exercising 3-4 times per week, but we don’t see the results that we expected. What many of us do is force these new goals and routines on top of our already crazy busy schedules – sometimes even getting up 1-2 hours earlier in the morning to go workout.  We are stressed and add these new requirements on top, thereby creating more stress and anxiety.  We are burning the candle from both ends.

What we are overlooking is the benefits of our sleep on our bodies. 

 Look at sleep as the foundation of your body – it is when your body recovers - repairing and building up the muscles worked during exercise, we recharge our batteries, and if this foundation isn’t solid and strong, it is hard to build upon it.   Less sleep also impacts our metabolism and increases cortisol levels.  One report found that when people dieting cut back on their sleep over a 14 day period, the amount of body fat loss decreased by 55%, even though they continued consuming the same calories. 

The CDC reports that over 35% of Americans are sleep deprived.  

Most experts recommend we get between 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  Yea, I know that is tough – with kids, all their activities, our jobs, social events, etc. – sometimes we are lucky to get 4-5 hours of sleep.  But we are overlooking the short- and long-term impact on our bodies due to lack of good quality sleep. 

So what steps can you take to take to make sure you are giving your body what it needs to heal and recover?

  1. Don’t work or engage in a stressful activity right before you go to bed. As you near your sleep time, you want to be relaxing and letting the day’s worries go away. Conference calls, last minute emails, and sometimes social media anxiety can get our minds active and stress levels up. Try to develop a routine of reading or listening to relaxing music at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.

  2. Try to develop a sleeping pattern. Ideally, we should go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. Of course, this is tough, but staying up until midnight to work when we normally go to be at 10:30 will throw your body off. This includes the weekends – try to keep the same sleep routines all the time…our bodies don’t recognize it is the weekend. You should be able to wake up in the morning and feel refreshed & ready to go.

  3. Daily exercise – but don’t give up sleep to exercise. Maintaining your daily exercise routine is beneficial to your body and will help you sleep better (though some people may choose not to exercise too close to their sleep time). However, if you are not a morning person and already waking up early, do not try to alter your sleep pattern and get up 1-2 hours earlier for exercise. Odds are against you sticking with your workouts and the lack of sleep will negatively impact the benefits of exercising.

Don’t overlook the importance of sleep on your health and fitness goals.  It is too easy to give up sleep for other priorities, but your body needs this rest and relaxation to heal itself and get ready for the new demands of the next day.  

Mind & Body Fitness Plano can help you reach your fitness goals. We have a team of outstanding trainers ready to work with you, along with an amazing atmosphere in our studio so you can enjoy the workouts and want to be there with your friends and family. 

Give us a call today (972-468-9555), try a free workout and see how Mind and Body Fitness Plano can help you reach your goals.