Oh dear.. Where do I even start with this article?
You’ve heard it all before; “make sure you get 8hrs sleep a night,” “don’t stay up too late!” etc.
But do you know WHY getting enough sleep is necessary, especially if you are striving toward health or fitness-orientated goals??
Or do you have trouble getting to sleep at night?
Well here are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way and would love to share with you!
Why is Sleep Important For Me to Achieve My Goals?
Considering that you’re on a website called fitandfiesty.com, I’m gonna assume that you lead an active lifestyle, and are working towards a goal; no matter if it’s weight loss, muscle gain or just overall well-being.
Well, it is when you are asleep that your body repairs itself after the strenuous exercise. For those of you who are trying to build muscle, sleep is your best friend as Human Growth Hormone, the hormone that aids in building muscle and/or dropping fat, is released by the brain into the bloodstream during sleep.
Additionally, a good night’s sleep will help make you feel more active and alert the following day, ready to power through whatever tasks need doing AND your workout. It can also fend off cravings, saving your waistline. This is because a lack of sleep also affects the hormones responsible for regulating our appetite (ghrelin and leptin), so by cashing in your sleeping hours, you will be more likely to stick with your meal plan.
Finally, and most importantly, in my opinion, sleep can reduce stress. I could go on and on about the risk of stressing too much, but let’s save that for another article 🙂 Instead, just note that stress can lead to physical and mental illness and stress-induced weight gain. So it’s probably best to reduce it whenever possible, right?
Other than the points mentioned above, sleep can also
- Improve your mood, memory and concentration throughout the day (lord knows I need this).
- Improve your immune system- a lack of sleep can leave you more vulnerable to infections, potentially forcing you to take time out from the gym or exercise, setting you back from reaching that goal.
- Curb inflammation- studies have shown that people who get less than six hours a night of sleep have higher levels of inflammatory proteins, which is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and arthritis.
This is just the tip of the “Sleep Benefits” Iceberg though! Listing them all would take forever.. and it’s getting late.. gotta get to bed on time (see what I did there?)
How Much Sleep Should I Get?
As with everything, your needs will differ from the next person. However, most adults require around eight hours a night. Some people may cope with six, others may only function with ten. Generally, you should sleep for as long as you need to feel refreshed and energized not only in the morning, but throughout the day.
How Can I Fall Asleep More Easily?
The techniques that I find most useful include;
- Sleep and wake up at around the same time everyday. That way, your body will get used to your schedule, and you’ll find that you feel tired at the same time every night, allowing you to fall asleep quicker.
- Reduce the noise, light and excessive temperatures in the bedroom. I like having my room a little colder than comfortable, so I can rug up under the covers.
- Try not to drink caffeine four to six hours before bed (pretty self-explanatory). If you can, try to emit it from your day entirely.
- Exercise daily. Vigorous exercise in the afternoon has been said to help best, and I believe that it does, but all that matters is that you are up and moving. Just try to limit exercise for three hours before bed.
- Do something relaxing right before bed or have a regular “before-bed” routine. For me, this consists of washing up, brushing my teeth, then reading for half an hour before turning out the lights.
Do you have any tricks that you find helps you sleep better? If so, I’d love to hear them!
Just leave a comment below 🙂
Hope this was of use to you.