The amount of good sleep you get is directly related to maintaining a healthy muscle to body fat ratio.
Sleep is largely responsible for hormone regulation. And losing fat and gaining/preserving muscle is all about the hormones.
Good news? Being well slept is a key component in weight loss and management and overall better health.
Bad news? We live in a culture that doesn’t value sleep and rest.
It’s frowned upon if you go to sleep early and follow a sleep schedule.
I had the unique opportunity to observe one of Dr. Kirk Parlsey’s lectures a few years ago on the effects of sleep deprivation related to health, performance, body composition and PTSD.
It blew my mind at how powerful sleep can be.. and how most people shrug off poor sleep habits.
You may have heard of Doc Parsley. He has been on numerous health and wellness podcasts, featured on PaleoFX, TED talks, etc.
It was absolutely fascinating to hear how SLEEP is the solution to a lot of the problems that plague our mental and physical health.
There is a vicious cycle involved with sleep deprivation according to Dr. Kirk Parsley:
- Poor sleep >>>> Hormonal Changes
- Hormonal changes >>>> Poor Sleep
- Increased Stressors >>>> Hormonal Changes
- Hormonal Changes >>>> Decrease Stress Tolerance
- Chronic Pain/Inflammation >>>> Hormonal Changes
- Hormonal Changes >>>> Chronic Pain/Inflammation
This cycle goes on and on because people don’t place enough value on rest and recovery.
When you don’t sleep enough, your hormones get out of whack.
When our hormones are out of whack, our energy sucks and our body doesn’t function optimally.
When our energy sucks, we make terrible food choices.
When we make terrible food choices, we gain weight.
The more unhealthy and overweight you become, the crappier you feel mentally and physically.
When you feel really crappy, you often want to stay at home on the couch and continue down the path of destruction. This leads to low self esteem and depression.
Bottom line: adults need 7-9 hours of QUALITY sleep.
But laying in your bed with your eyes closed doesn’t mean you’re getting quality sleep.
Now we know WHY we need to sleep more but many of us struggle to fall and stay asleep.
Here are some tips to help you get to sleep faster:
- Develop a routine. Even though we are adults, it’s just as important to have a bedtime routine as parents create for their children. You should have a series of things you do that become systematic. You do things in the same order each night to signal to your body that you’re preparing for sleep. Pack your lunch for the next day, shower, read a bit and then lights out. Whatever routine works for you, stick to it. This routine should be low stress, calming and should lead to falling asleep. Make it a habit.
- Set a reverse alarm that reminds you each night to start your sleep routine.
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
- Avoid blue light at night time. This is a pretty major one… Blue wavelengths mimic those of the sun…it’s VERY disruptive to melatonin production (a hormone secreted to regulate your body’s circadium rhythm). What has blue light? ELECTRONICS. TVs, phones, tablets, computers… establish a time where you stop using electronics well before sleep time. If you MUST use electronics, you should consider wearing some sweet amber glasses/blueblockers. Ya, they look creepy but you’re at home and sleep will make you look more sexy than not sleeping.
- Eliminate light sources in your bedroom… cover your alarm clock, any devices with power lights. Get yourself some black out curtains.
- Reduce your stress. Do some yoga or stretching each night. Listen to a meditation podcast (check out the Chopra Center for Wellbeing by David Ji).
- Color!! As silly as it may sound, coloring is very relaxing and mindless. According to this study, its the best alternative to meditation. Think about how you use to tune out while coloring…your only focus is on the one color you’re working with. You can buy some adult coloring books on Amazon here.
- Supplement with Magnesium. Magnesium is a powerful relaxation mineral. Unless you’re eating a diet rich in dark greens, nuts and beans…you’re probably lacking in the Magnesium department. The most absorbable forms are magnesium citrate, glycinate taurate, or aspartate, although magnesium bound to Kreb cycle chelates (malate, succinate, fumarate) are also good. Avoid magnesium carbonate, sulfate, gluconate, and oxide. They are poorly absorbed (and the cheapest and most common forms found in supplements).
Want to get stronger? Get to sleep.
Want to lose fat? Get to sleep.
Want to have more energy? Get to sleep.
Want to have more balanced moods? Get to sleep.
– Nicole Race, owner Elevate St. Pete