When people think about weight loss and fitness goals, the first thing that usually comes to mind is diet and exercise. But, have you ever considered that the hours you sleep each night play a major role in a diet and exercise regime?
With all the things we have going on in our lives in this day and age; it’s understandable that most adults do not sleep eight hours each night. Of course, every person’s sleep needs are different, but in general, six hours should be the minimum. A recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who slept seven or more hours a night were less likely to put on weight than those who didn’t. Sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain and higher BMI’s as well. This is because Leptin, an important brain hormone that regulates appetite, isn’t secreted in adequate quantities when one sleeps less than six hours a night.
When it comes to exercise recovery, sleep is just as important as eating and drinking. Lack of sleep interferes with the metabolism of glucose, which muscles depend on for energy. If your muscles have no energy, you will not be getting the most out of your workouts.
Do you feel like you’re always fighting frequent colds? This could be attributed to lack of sleep as well. Sleep less than six hours a night and you will have a compromised immune system. Studies have shown that those who sleep less than six hours have 50% less immunity protection than those who sleep eight hours per night. In addition to all this, lack of sleep causes moodiness, anxiety and irritability.
So, in addition to a healthy diet and exercise, focus on getting the quality sleep your body needs.
By Genie Bianchi, RRCA Coach/Fitness Trainer