Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Get Your Sleep

You are working out, eating right, and doing everything you can to eat less and move more.  But are you hurting your progress if you aren't sleeping enough?  Yes, yes, and yes!

Not only will your workouts suffer and those around you suffer from your likely grumpiness, but your body and mind will suffer from a lack of sleep.  Studies have shown a correlation between impeded fat loss and lack of sleep.  Sleep is a natural way for your body to recover.  You don't grow stronger and look better from your workouts and eating habits alone.  Proper rest is imperative.  In fact, sleep is the time that your body is offered the opportunity to recover and grow.  Additionally, important hormones like insulin and leptin, among others, can throw off normal glucoregulatory functions by not operating properly.  If you're doing everything right, but not getting your sleep, well then you are not doing everything right.  Sleep is paramount in building muscle and losing body fat.  PARAMOUNT!

What kind of sleep are we talking about?  8 hours a night.  Make sleep a priority.  Get off the computer and turn off the TV and go to bed.  Why would you work so hard to build lean muscle and lose that pesky body fat and then not get proper rest?  Sleep is critical to your success when it comes to fitness.  Not to mention, that the longer you stay up, the more likely you are to make those late night trips to the kitchen.

If you are having trouble getting your 8 hours of sleep, then try changing your routine.  Get up earlier, get in bed earlier, and don't turn on a TV in your bedroom.  Save your bed for sleep and sex.  You can get away with reading a book in bed and sometimes that will really help to prime you for a good night's rest.  You're getting the gist here, right?  Get your sleep people.

Having trouble trying to fit 8 hours of sleep into your day?  Grab a quick nap.  I have a friend of mine who swears that a 20-30 minute nap does wonders for him.  Not many of us have a daily opportunity to nap, but if you can, it will help and you'll feel energized.  I almost always get a Saturday and Sunday nap.  My wife and I cherish a Sunday afternoon nap with a fire and football on in the background.  In fact, I'm getting sleepy right now thinking about it...

So if sleep itself is not reason enough for you and if captilizing on workouts and proper nutrition doesn't tip your tipping point, then here's one more reason for sleep.  'Short sleepers' have been shown to be at increased risk for blood sugar abnormalities in a recent study funded by the NIH.  While I'm going to assume that the study participants were not likely following a primal or paleo lifestyle (a lifestyle that I find the most healthy), let's not discount the reaffirmation of the importance of sleep by this study {American Heart Association (2009, March 17). 'Short-sleepers' May Develop Blood Sugar Abnormality That Can Lead To Diabetes}.

Get Your Sleep!

Until next time...


  1. As a mother of a three year old and one on the way I wonder what all of these years of sleep deprivation are going to do to me. You can't make a kid sleep, so I guess I'm stuck for now.

  2. I should have mentioned 'seasons' of life HIIT Mama. Grab those naps when you can.