Everyone has fitness goals, and these goals can be quite diverse. Some want to lose weight. Others want to improve athletic performance. However, most people just want to feel better and healthier.
It is important to remember that without the right lifestyle habits, you could be making it much harder to achieve your fitness goals. Sleeping well is one habit that is often overlooked. In this post we look at how not getting good quality sleep could affect your fitness goals.
Getting Enough Sleep
There are plenty of benefits to getting enough sleep, and many of these benefits will directly help you achieve your fitness goals. Pop Sugar explains that sleep is essential for “uninterrupted mental rest and muscle repair.” A well-rested mind and body means you will be able to better face all your daily challenges, including those related to fitness.
In addition, adequate shut-eye will give you more energy and decrease the body’s production of leptin and ghrelin, natural chemicals that make you crave food, even when you are not actually hungry. Cravings can lead to binge eating or overeating, both of which will hinder you from achieving your fitness goals. Getting enough sleep is especially important if you want to lose weight. In our post ‘Increase Metabolism: The Fastest Way To Lose Weight’ we recommend getting eight hours of sound sleep per night, and warn that light sleep could affect your metabolism.
Having a Fall-Asleep Routine
Jim White who is a national spokesman for The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics vouches for a good night’s sleep, as he states in his interview with Leesa that you “can’t get to a high level of fitness without enough sleep.” He went on to point out that there is mounting evidence to prove such claims. But if you frequently find it hard to fall asleep at night, then you might be in some trouble. However, there are many ways to create a routine that will help you fall asleep. These include avoiding blue lights and electronics before bed, finding the right room temperature, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol. It may take some trial-and-error, but once you get it right, you will be sleeping soundly more often.
Having a Consistent Sleep Pattern
Dr. Michael Breus explains in ‘Both Bedtimes and Wake Times Matter to Good Sleep, that keeping a consistent pattern will strengthen your sleep-wake cycle by “reinforcing the work of the internal systems that help to drive that cycle.” This is the homeostatic sleep system which tells the body when it is time to sleep, and the circadian system, which regulate the “timing of sleep and wakefulness over the course of 24-hours night and day.” In other words, having a consistent sleep pattern will help you sleep better and wake up easily without feeling drowsy, tired, and lethargic.
Not Pressing the Snooze Button
The New Yorker’s Maria Konnikova calls snoozers “losers” and considers the practice counterproductive. She argues that hitting the snooze button does not buy you more sleep time; instead, it disrupts your sleep-wake cycle since you are “plunging your brain back into the beginning of the sleep cycle.” This in turn makes it more difficult to wake up. What’s worse, is it makes you feel as if you have had a particularly terrible sleep.
Not Being a Weekend Sleeper
Getting extra hours of sleep at weekend actually cannot compensate for the hours of sleep you lost during the week. This practice of extending sleep during weekends is actually counter-intuitive as all it does is disrupt your sleep pattern.
Sleep is often overlooked, but if you want to achieve your fitness goals, you ought to pay attention to it a lot more and only then will you be able to reach new fitness heights.