Sleep is extremely important for everyone. Humans need sleep to recharge and repair their bodies. It’s a vital time when the body prepares itself for the next day’s activities by repairing muscles and transporting nutrients to ensure they’re in the right place for daytime.
What are the benefits of a good night’s sleep?
A good night’s sleep means you’ll be well rested, you’ll have more energy, you’ll think more clearly and you’ll get things done!
Sleep is therefore very important for weight loss. Why? Because if you’re going to be doing a workout session at the gym, or are very active during the day, you need to have enough energy and your reserves need to be adequately recharged in order for you to put everything into these activities.
And, if you’re a coffee lover and find that you need to reach for a mug of it in the morning to get you started then being well rested can help. It will remove the feeling of grogginess and tiredness you feel when you wake up in the morning and leave you less reliant on coffee to fuel you through the day.
What are the consequences of a bad night’s sleep?
After a restless night’s sleep, you’ll feel tired upon waking and crave things like coffee, sugar, carbs or energy drinks to get you going.
These morning “hits” will help jump-start you, but they’re going to have a negative effect on your body if you have them regularly. You’ll be piling on the pounds which is not something you want if you’re trying to lose weight.
If your goal isn’t to trim your wobbly bits but to build muscle then all of the same information applies. Having enough rest in the night will encourage your body to repair fully and build muscle definition. As long as you’re eating enough of the right nutrients and keeping adequately hydrated, the last step of having enough sleep will see your gains multiply.
How to get a better night’s sleep
Here are a few points to keep in mind if you want to get a better night’s sleep. Having a restful night is just as important as getting the right amount of sleep – laying in bed isn’t the same as actually sleeping for the same length of time.
- Go to bed by 11 pm:
Most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep to feel fully refreshed.
- Avoid caffeine after 2 pm:
Caffeine stays in your system for between 4-6 hours, so avoiding caffeine in the afternoon ensures that all caffeine is completely out of your system and will not keep you awake.
- Relax and unwind 1-2 hours before bedtime:
It is best to avoid social media and computer screens right before going to bed. Instead, try reading yourself sleepy.
- Eat your last big meal 2-3 hours before sleeping:
However, don’t go to bed hungry- a few light carbohydrates before bed is okay, but eating a lot of protein before is not recommended.
- Exercise early (your body will become naturally tired):
If you know that you are unlikely to be motivated to train after work, then get your session in first thing! You’ll be energised for the day ahead and ready for bed by the end of the day.
- Take a magnesium supplement:
Magnesium supplements can help relieve mild to moderate anxiety and reduce the body’s response to stress. Stress and anxiety are often the cause of restless sleep.
- Make all of the above a habit
These are just a few tips to help you get a better night’s sleep, the benefits of which will lead to a positive effect on your health, fitness and well-being goals. One thing that helps lots of people is to form habits that lead to things being done on autopilot instead of actually thinking about them (like not drinking caffeine after lunch).
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