Wouldn’t it be great if you could just sleep and get healthier? Well you can. We all know we should eat better, get more active, de-stress, but often we forget that we need to SLEEP!
Why is sleep so important? Poor sleep is associated with weight gain, depression, worse mood, decreased energy, poor attention, and decreased ability to handle stress. Also, most of your gains from exercise occur during sleep when your body is recovering and rebuilding from a hard workout. Gwen Jorgenson (women’s Olympic Gold medal winning triathlete) sleeps 40-50% of her life while training. This also allows you physically and mentally be able to go out there and do the hard workouts.
But won’t I gain weight if I sleep more? No. When do you weigh the least? First thing in the morning. Why? Because you’ve been FASTING for hours, but your body is still BURNING calories (basal metabolic rate). Just from this standpoint alone you can lose weight by sleeping more. Also, when you are sleep deprived your pleasure centers are activated and you seek out ‘reward’ type foods (ie I stayed up all night doing ‘whatever’ so I DESERVE this Little Debbie snack cake). In a study, people who were sleep deprived ate more while awake and ate more the next day as well. Not only are your pleasure centers activated, but your willpower is down as well.
Well, how much sleep do people need? The average is 7-9 hours—less as you get older. There is a way to test yourself to see what your optimal sleep time is. To do this you’ll need a few days where you can sleep at home. First, sleep with no alarm clock for 2 nights. These nights are to catch up on bad sleep and fatigue. Next, to see how much sleep you really need, go to bed at a reasonable time (not late) and without using an alarm, note the time that you wake up and that duration will be the typical amount of sleep you need.
Try These 10 Simple Steps To Better Sleep
How can I sleep better? Here are 10 simple steps to better sleep:
1. Set up a time to go to sleep. The earlier the better. Remember tomorrow starts today (or tonight)!