Wouldn’t it be great if you could lose weight by doing nothing? Well, according to weight loss experts, you can. It turns out that losing weight is far easier if you get a good night’s sleep, so it makes sense to do whatever you can to ensure that you sleep soundly.
1. Hit the Hay To Prosper In the Gym
Getting proper rest can make the difference between succeeding with your work-out regimen and failing miserably. However, this doesn’t mean spending days snoozing in front of box sets and Netflix. What it means is getting plenty of high-value deep sleep, the kind that puts your body in the right mode to regenerate itself.
When people slip into deep sleep, the body goes to work repairing damaged muscle fibers. During deep sleep, the body uses proteins ingested during the day to build up tissues, which is why cutting edge personal trainers focus as much on sleeping patterns as reps and nutrition.
2. Losing Sleep Trains Your Body To Eat Poorly
Poor sleeping patterns don’t just impair the body’s ability to fix its broken tissues. New research suggests that it also places the body in a mode that promotes unhealthy eating, not unlike the “munchies” experienced by cannabis users.
In scientific trials, participants who were systematically deprived of sleep started to feel an intense desire for unhealthy foods like potato chips, fries and candy, despite having eaten enough nutrients to meet their daily recommended intake.
Not sleeping switches on a “hedonic” signal in the brain, which causes people to crave sugars and fats. This led to participants in the study gorging on fattening snacks at twice the rate of people who slept for 8 hours.
How Can You Create Healthy Sleeping Patterns?
Sleeping well is one of the keys to sustained weight loss (and general physical health), but how can it be achieved?
Lifestyle factors can be a major influence on how long we sleep. If you live a hectic, disordered life with constantly changing work or social routines, this can lead to chaotic sleep patterns. So consider cutting back on midweek socializing or try to limit late night working. Set aside time to hit the sack and give yourself a regular scheduled bed-time.
If you struggle to sleep, it’s a good idea to schedule a transition period of an hour or so before you retire for the night. Watch some TV in bed, read a book or have a herbal bath. Bathing is actually a great idea as the transition from warm water to room temperature tends to naturally make you more drowsy.
Avoid Artificial Stimulants and Sleeping Pills
Poor sleep can also be caused by artificial substances like caffeine, so avoid drinking tea, coffee or energy drinks up to 6 hours before sleeping if you want a solid night of rest. Even alcohol is to be avoided. It might have a short term depressive effect, but after a while in your bloodstream, it actually becomes a stimulant, disrupting your sleeping patterns in the process.
Sleeping pills may seem attractive, but they also disrupt deep sleep. When you take them, your body goes through the motions of falling asleep without getting the full benefit – so try as hard as possible to sleep without artificial assistance.
Use A Fitness Tracker To Perfect Your Sleeping Patterns
If you are trying to establish a regular sleeping routine, technology is your friend. Realizing that fitness lovers tend to take a broad perspective on their health, the manufacturers of fitness trackers like Garmin and Fitbit have included sleep monitoring tools on their devices.
These trackers can be used to log your hours of sleep, giving a picture of how your patterns are changing and how often you manage to get a full 8 hours. They can also monitor your heart rate and breathing, giving a fairly accurate reading of how long you are spending in the deep sleep mode.
With some data to motivate you, it will become easier to make the lifestyle changes needed to sleep better, while your fitness tracker can also be configured to make recommendations about when to stop drinking coffee and what to eat.
If you want to lose weight, eating healthy foods, exercising and cutting back on alcohol are all vital, but don’t neglect the importance of sleep.
Not only will sleeping longer help to repair your muscles, it also primes your body to eat well. By using technology and making simple lifestyle changes, a good night’s sleep is within your grasp.