The Secret To A Successful Fitness Transformation

Posted On Sep 06, 2022 |

You can you set yourself up for success without counting a single calorie or doing a single push-up, by optimizing your sleep.

SLEEP YOUR WAY TO YOUR FITNESS GOALS

You can feel better, healthier and happier, while you set yourself up for success on your fitness journey - without counting a single calorie or doing a single push-up - by optimizing your sleep.

Yes, you heard that right.

Somehow, our society has got it backwards when it comes to sleep. How often do you hear people bragging about pulling all-nighters, or saying things like, “I only need 5 hours of sleep a night,” or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”?

Sorry, no. Your body needs sleep. So much so that you most likely won’t be able to reach your health and fitness goals without getting enough of it. 

Don't believe me? Ask yourself the following questions: 

Have you:

  • had great difficulty losing weight and keeping it off?

  • been sick fairly frequently or have noticed an uptick in sick days?

  • experienced brain fog or trouble making decisions?

  • wished you were in a better mood most days?

  • avoided workouts because they feel too hard or sap your energy…..?

If you said yes to one or more of the above, BUT you haven’t given a second thought to the quality and quantity of your sleep, you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle.

Good Sleep is Fundamental To Good Health

Most people don’t know how fundamental good sleep is to..... well just about everything related to your health.

Poor sleep:

  • occurs most frequently in the 45-54 age group

  • is linked to obesity and general weight gain because it disrupts the balance of hormones that regulate appetite, causing you to feel hungrier, especially craving the sugary/carb rich food group which is already prone to overeating

  • decreases disease fighting t-cells, increasing your vulnerability to viruses and bacteria

  • increases inflammation, putting you at greater risk for heart disease and other illnesses related to inflammation (such as cancer)

  • interferes with the process of cementing what we experience and learn to memory, making us less alert, and more forgetful, impulsive and confused

  • hampers the brain/body’s recovery system, which during sleep refreshes neurotransmitter levels and clears/cleans energy-draining metabolites, lactic-acid and other waste products. This can leave you with slower reaction time, low energy and endurance capacity, and reduced desire to exercise. This can also lead to depression: 75% of those who suffer from depression also suffer from lack of sleep

Just think of the ripple effects that would occur if you even made small improvements to the quality/quantity of your sleep!

I’m sure you want to:

  • Look better. Let’s be honest, we all want this. Who wants to walk around with big puffy circles under their eyes every day? Not me!

  • Eat the right amount of food for your unique body and life situation (plus: eating the right types and amounts of food can also help you sleep better at night!)

  • Think clearer

  • Be happier

  • Have more energy

So let’s dig in…..

SOME INCONVENIENT FACTS ABOUT SLEEP

If you are feeling Maxed-Out at Midlife, you likely don’t get adequate sleep, both in terms of quality and quantity. But your lack of sleep is even more likely to NOT be caused by a medical disorder.

Only 20% of sleep-deprivation cases are due to a medical disorder, and in the US we spend upwards of $100 billion per year on medical visits, pills, supplements, and books to help us get to sleep and stay that way. It is thought that sleep deprivation overall causes the US economy to lose around $400 billion per year!

The most common sleep disorder is insomnia, followed by sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and REM sleep behavior disorder. Narcolepsy affects less than 1% of those with sleep disorders.

This means 80% of sleep problems do not require extensive medical intervention, other than to rule things out, which is important to do first.

NON-MEDICAL CAUSES OF SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Once you’ve ruled out a medical sleep disorder, you will need to dig deeper, because a pill won’t help solve the problem in the long run.

80% of sleep problems are caused by:

  • 42%! - STRESS (racing thoughts, overthinking, etc)

  • caffeine intake and timing

  • alcohol intake and timing

  • total hydration and timing

  • meal timing

  • exercise timing

  • bedroom environment

  • noise

  • body temperature

Newsflash: these are all things you can control. Some are obviously easier than others.

But why would you opt for a medical solution that merely covers up the symptoms?

Wouldn’t you love having even some of that extra time that you spend trying to fall asleep? I’m sure you can think of plenty of things to do with that time! Like exercise!

While it is beyond the scope of this blog to go into every possible way to improve your sleep, I’ll give you the basics:

  • Assess your current situation. The easiest (and cheapest) way is to track via a sleep diary

  • Determine your sleep chronotype (morning lark or night owl). This is important when you are developing all your routines as described below.

  • Develop a morning routine - a good night’s sleep starts in the morning. This is absolutely essential, can be done in as little as 20 minutes, and includes having a consistent wake-up time, proper hydration (and delaying caffeine as long as possible), getting natural light, movements specifically designed to activate the nervous system, time to journal/plan your day.

  • Develop an evening routine - up to 60 minutes before you go to bed allocate time to brain dump and wind down. Ideally you want to go from light to dark, warm to cool, and past/present to future thinking.

  • Optimize your bedroom environment, and timing of nutrients, meals, caffeine, exercise and naps.

  • Work on your mindset - this is the key to success of all the above. You’ll need to dig deep to see why your sleep isn’t optimal, understand the steps you need to take to improve it, and that establishing routines takes time.

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Book a call with me and let's create a plan to get your health and fitness on track together.

Categories: Recovery