You’ve been working hard trying to eat right and exercise your way into the shape you want to be in. Whatever diet you’ve chosen, whether it’s keto or Weight Watchers, pretty much requires you to do some exercise alongside it. What you may not know is that there is a key part of your exercise routine that you’re probably missing out on – a good night’s sleep.
Sleep can help you feel more motivated, perform better, and even burn more calories when you exercise. You’ll also be more emotionally stable, which can be a struggle when you’re changing your lifestyle. Having a good sleep routine can actually help to drop inches off of you waist.
Despite all of the benefits, more than 35 percent of Americans say they don’t get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis, according to the CDC. Many people think that they can get by on just five or six hours of sleep, but that’s just not the case. Sleep affects every part of your life, whether you realize it or not.
Participants in a PLOS study says, one who slept an average of 6 hours per night had an increased waist measurement of about 1.2 inches more than those who got 9 hours of sleep per night. They also had a higher body mass index (BMI), and lower levels of good cholesterol in their blood.
Sleeping poorly can also slow your metabolism. The sleep-deprived brain releases lower levels of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that you’re full, and higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite. It also causes your body to process glucose poorly and raises the levels of inflammation in your coronary arteries.
The scientists behind “Optimizing sleep to maximize performance: implications and recommendations for elite athletes” hypothesized that the reason that so many people do not sleep enough is due to scheduling conflicts, placing a low priority on sleep and “a lack of awareness of the role of sleep in optimizing athletic performance.”
That study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, found that physical health, particularly illness and injury risk and weight maintenance, was negatively impacted by sleep loss. Additionally, neurocognitive functions such as attention and memory, and the domains of athletic performance, such as speed and endurance, were influenced by the number of hours that participants slept.
Another study, published by the Sleep Research Society in 2011, found that basketball players saw “significant improvements” in their athletic performance, reaction time, daytime sleepiness and mood after 5 to 7 weeks of sleeping eight hours per night. Those able to extend their time in bed for 14 hours per day for four weeks in an attempt to eliminate sleep debt found that there were further mood and energy improvements.
The players’ free throws and three-pointers were 9 percent more accurate, and their sprint times improved by 0.7 seconds. Each subject also reported an improved self-perception of their performance during practices and games, which was corroborated by their statistics. Sleep improved their jump shots!
More sleep can also help you react more positively to setbacks. A study published in 2005 in the Sleep Research Society Journal found that medical students who were completing their residencies had intensified negative emotions and fatigue when their days were disrupted and were less likely to feel positive emotions when they hadn’t slept well. This study implies that they were less mentally able to handle the day’s disruptions with a good attitude when they hadn’t slept well. It’s easier to manage a rough cycling class when you’ve slept enough the night before.
As you can see, getting a good night’s sleep is actually one of the best things you can do for yourself. There are a few ways you can improve your night’s sleep without making huge changes to your lifestyle.
One easy thing you should look into is changing your mattress. It’s recommended that you buy a new bed every 5 to 10 years, with 8 years being a sweet spot. If you haven’t bought a new one your recent memory, you should check into the right kind of mattress for the way you sleep. Most people are “side sleepers,” at least part of the time, which means a medium or medium-firm mattress may be a good fit. If you can’t remember the last time you changed pillows, it might be time for new ones of those, too. Give the extremely comfortable pillows by xtreme comforts and you will see how it improves your sleep instantly.
The next few changes are small ones – drop the temperature down to between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn on a fan for white noise and to create air flow, and declutter the space you see when you go to bed. You’ll be sleeping like a rock in no time!
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