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Exercise and Sleep

Don't be this guy! Rest up!


Yes hello all I have finally returned from my vacation and now it is time to knuckle down further still as I try and bring you all even more content and knowledge on the World that is fitness and nutrition.

So first off on this fine Monday morning I am going to talk about Exercise and Sleep…

Did you know people who are sleep deprived tend to reach for fatty foods? They also consume around an extra 300 calories per day as they reach for the fridge in the middle of the night. (I have been known to be that guy). Uh!

A 5K run, a workout with your own body weight or a yoga session not only help you stay in shape, but they improve the quality of your sleep, too. In today’s blog post, you can learn why exercise helps, which hormones play a role in muscle recovery, and tips and tricks for getting a good night’s sleep.

A study shows better exercise can help the body improve the quality of sleep one has overnight. However this does not have an immediate impact on one’s sleep pattern, it will take around 4 months for this change to occur as the body needs to accommodate for the change to the system’s routine. Finishing a run or intense exercise however doesn’t mean you’re going to pass out the moment your head touches the pillow. The central nervous system needs to understand the change in intensity before it can slow down and allow your mind and body to fully recover in a rested state.


My tip?

Finish your running or bodyweight training at least two hours before going to bed to ensure a restful night’s sleep. Do you like working out in the morning? If you plan on exercising before work, you should go to bed earlier than usual to make sure you get enough sleep.


Better sleep, better performance…

During the day, we want to do a good job at work and still have the strength to complete a challenging running workout. If you don’t sleep well at night, you have less energy during the day and thus less desire to exercise. Therefore, a good night’s sleep is essential for your training routine! This has recently been confirmed by a study on student athletes conducted by the renowned Stanford University: Students who got more sleep (in this case, 10 full hours!), performed better than those who placed less emphasis on their sleep. Incidentally, it doesn’t always have to be 10 hours of sleep a night. 7 to 9 hours is the optimal amount.


Better sleep better muscle recovery!

What you require after a long run or an intense bodyweight training session is recovery: Your muscles need to rest now – and this is just as important for your desired training effect as the actual workout itself.

Incidentally, the male hormone testosterone plays a major role in building muscles: The harder you work out and push your muscles, the more testosterone your body releases. Testosterone is needed to help your muscles recover after your workout – without it, your damaged muscles cannot build new tissue and you won’t get stronger. This is where sleep comes in again: The longer and better you sleep, the more time your body has for recovery and growth. So you see, your muscles do grow in your sleep.


Step into a better sleep (10,000 steps into a better sleep in-fact)

The clock keeps ticking. Our thoughts keep racing. We lie in bed for hours and we simply can’t sleep… It’s really frustrating! There are times when deep sleep is more necessary than ever. For example, when you are supposed to run a (half-)marathon the next day or you have an important meeting at work.

When you are stressed, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which interferes with your sleep. This means that on the next day, besides feeling even more tired, you will have a huge appetite thanks to a lack of leptin, the appetite-suppressing hormone. Low levels of leptin result in increased hunger, which of course leads to the 300 calories we mentioned at the beginning of the article. This also lowers the quality of your sleep – particularly because the fat cells that collect in your neck lead to annoying snoring. And you certainly don’t want to disturb your loved ones sleep, do you? The fact is that sleep and weight are connected.

That’s why you need to get plenty of exercise – you should shoot for 10,000 steps a day. Exercising outdoors can help you cope with stress and makes you really tired in the evening so you sleep better.


And here they are, 4 tips for you on falling asleep:

Dim the lights for a while before going to bed. This acts like the sun setting in your apartment, which makes you sleepy faster.

Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Light interrupts your body’s production of melatonin, which disrupts your metabolic processes.

Develop a ritual like brushing your teeth, showering or reading before lying down to sleep. Your body will get used to it and will know that it’s time to sleep now.

Sleep in a cool room. The temperature in your bedroom should be between 16° C (60.8° F) and 18° C (64.4 ° F).

For more information or to get yourself better quality sleep why not purchase a plan where I can structure your nutrition and workout routine to help you get better rested at night so you can have more energy in the day to achieve your fitness goals.

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