Why Sleep is Your Solution to Positive Fitness Results

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Sleep is the most under-appreciated gift we own (in MY opinion, anyway). We try to "hustle hard", or "rest when we're dead" (which, by the way, if you're not careful, working yourself crazy WILL have you dead.) We try to do "all the things", and we end up burnt out, overweight, exhausted, neglecting family and friends, irritable, stressed, and unhappy. That doesn't sound like the kind of life I want to lead. So, why do we strive to be #teamnosleep?

There is a way we can you can still get ish done like the true boss you are AND get adequate rest so you can live a long and healthy life and ENJOY the fruits of all your labor. Getting proper sleep so you can stay in shape enough to enjoy all those fruits is THE step you want to take. Here's why. 

  • When you're sleeping, that's when most of the repairs on your body are getting done. Your growth hormone is being produced and this aids in stronger muscles, calcium retention (for strong bones), AND fat loss. When you're stressed, there's a reason you find that over time, you have a little bit more around your midsection than you had a few months ago. Stress produces belly fat that, mythically, "protects" your major organs from getting compromised. What it's actually doing is suffocating your organs. We want our organs to be protected by healthy fats and muscles that have good blood flow to keep them functioning. This is vital when you are strength training and you're breaking down your muscles. They get rebuilt while you sleep!
  • Inadequate sleep literally makes you fat. Well, not literally. When you sleep, your body balances out two hormones that control hunger; ghrelin and leptin. Studies have shown a correlation between less sleep and increased levels of ghrelin (this is the hormone that makes you hungry). If you are getting insufficient sleep, your body doesn't have the time to balance out those hormones, and you find yourself more hungry. That is when you eat, and that is why you gain weight. So, yes, less sleep makes you more hungry, which makes you fat. So get enough sleep so that you can give your body a chance to fight fat the way it's supposed to.
  • Getting sleep promotes psychological health so you can have a positive workout session. Have you ever felt like you were delusional because you haven't gone to sleep in over 24 hours? You feel a little loopy, you're saying things that may not make sense? That's because sleep also affects your central nervous system. When you're not getting enough, your CNS goes crazy, making you feel loopy. You cannot function properly in a workout setting, and your body is not capable of working at its optimal level if your CNS is compromised because of lack of proper sleep. If you do attempt to workout on little to no sleep, you risk injuring yourself because you're not performing the exercises properly. 

Preparing for sleep is an important part of our day we tend to forget. We sometimes just hop in the bed and think we're about to have the best sleep of our lives. This can lead to a deep sleep, but for most people we don't get restful sleep because we haven't shut off our brains, and we still are amped up from all the things we've experienced during our day. For a proper getting to sleep routine, check out these solutions below:

  • Decide on a time (at bare minimum, 1 hour) to shut off all electronics. Blue light from TVs, phones, tablets, and computers can really affect your sleep patterns.
  • Choose to have a cup of herbal, non-caffeine tea to help settle you, and bring calm to your mind. 
  • Read a chapter from a book to help you get to sleep if you're having trouble.
  • Take melatonin to help induce sleep.
  • Run a misting diffuser of lavender and wild orange pure essential oils - lavender essential oil induces sleep and wild orange essential oil keeps you asleep (if you're someone who wakes up often throughout the night)

I hope this list helps you get to a state of restful sleep so that you can be energized enough to have a successful workout from day to day. 

For more tips like this, and to really get your mindset going in the right direction, sign up for The Mindset Reset, my 5-day free email course to guide you to a more clear and positive mindset so you can achieve your fitness goals.