Everyone knows you should be getting enough sleep. Experts says anywhere between 7-9 hours a night is ideal for most people. Everyone is different, and some need less sleep than others, but it is safe to say most people are not getting enough.
Sleep is important for just about every bodily function. Specifically talking about health and fitness, your body recovers from workouts while you sleep and sleep can affect your ability to lose weight.
Those who are sleep deprived take in more calories. Not just because they are awake longer, but because sleep affects levels of hunger-regulating hormones. Feeling tired makes you crave more food than if you were well rested, and you are more likely to reach for (unhealthy!) sugary snacks for quick energy.
Other hormones are also impacted by your nightly slumber. Growth hormone (GH) and acetylcholine are essential to the metabolism equation. They're released when you sleep and work to repair and build muscle tissue. Over-exercising and skimping on sleep can get in the way of burning fat and keeping your metabolism revved. Stress increases belly-broadening cortisol and suppresses your GH levels.
If you aren't getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, here are a few things to try:
- Get to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time (even on weekends)
- Shut off your electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime
- Keep those electronics out of the bedroom!
- Make sure the temperature in the room isn't too warm (some say 63 degrees is great)
- Have a bedtime routine and keep it the same each night. It will signal to your brain it is time to start shutting down and get ready for a great night's rest.