• Joshua Li

Why Sleep Is So Important to Gaining Results

Sleep has the ability to help people lose weight, but not just any sleep will do. It’s important to get an adequate amount of deep sleep every night, as it is the most restorative, providing both mental and physical recovery benefits, which supports the weight loss journey.

Most research indicates that less than 7 hours of sleep correlates with being heavier, gaining weight, risk of disease, cancer and struggling to lose weight. Many experts believe that a range of six to eight hours or seven to nine hours is ideal for most people.

Sleep is the foundation needed to support exercise and healthy eating habits. When people don't get enough sleep, it can become more challenging to control behaviour and inhibitions. They might be more likely to seek pleasure in foods and replace exercising with those that offer a "quick fix" reward, such as surfing the Internet or watching television.

Lack of sleep strengthens the desire for rewards, which usually leads to unhealthy eating. More specifically, leptin (which decreases hunger), ghrelin (which increases hunger) and endocannabinoids (which are linked to snack cravings) are hormones that regulate appetite. When sleep volume is low, these hormones stimulate a craving for rich carbohydrate foods.

Without enough sleep, the body is essentially in a state of duress, which can lead to eating more calories to deal with the threat it perceives. Also, the more time spent awake, the more time there is to consume snacks.

Another hormone, cortisol, ideally spikes in the morning, providing energy for the day, and reduces at night, encouraging sleep. When sleep habits are poor and stress is high, cortisol levels remain elevated, which may inhibit weight loss and disrupt sleep. A cycle of stress and sleep disruption results. Stress affects sleep and sleep affects stress, which once again makes it challenging to implement even the most well-designed program for weight loss.

Getting enough sleep and rising at a consistent time every day supports hormones to regulate appetite and food choices. Encourage your clients to take small steps toward better sleep and be gentle with themselves. In other words, don’t let stressing about not getting enough sleep add more stress.

If your clients are having trouble going to sleep or staying asleep, encourage them to try the following:

• Prioritise relaxing, stress-free evening activities that help wind you down to rest.

• Avoid stimulating evening activities until you get into a sleep rhythm.

• Avoid electronics and blue spectrum light exposure one hour before bed.

• Reduce or, ideally, eliminate alcohol and caffeine.

• Aim to finish dinner two to three hours before you get into bed.

• Supplement melatonin and magnesium before bed

It is no brainer. The more sleep you get the likelihood of productivity increases, mental health improves and risk for diseases reduces. Urge your clients to make a commitment to increase sleep consistency, and they will not only sleep better, they will be more likely to achieve their fitness goals quicker and at ease.

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