If your eating and exercise are on point but you still don't look (or feel) the way you want, then sleep - or lack of it - could be to blame.
Here are 5 signs that your sleep habits aren't working for you.
1. Your mind is foggy
The things that we experience and learn get cemented into memory while we sleep. If we aren't getting enough shut-eye, we interfere with this process. This causes:
-Reduced alertness and concentration
- Impaired judgement
Which would explain you can't find that thing you were looking for - or remember what that thing actually is.
2. You're unhappy
While we're sleeping, we produce fresh neurotransmitters (little chemical messengers) and regulate our hormone production. When this gets messed with? We experience:
- Impaired regulation of emotions
- Heightened stress
- Increased risk of depression
3. You're getting sick a lot
When we miss out on sleep, T-cells go down and inflammation goes up. This means:
- Increased vulnerability to viruses and bacteria
- Accute increase in risk of getting sick
- Increased risk of heart disease and other inflammation-related diseases
Remember, sick days are no fun when you're actually sick.
4. Your workouts feel too hard
Our body uses sleep as an opportunity to replenish neurotransmitter levels and remove energy-draining metabolites. No sleep? No recovery. Which leads to:
- Decreased central nervous system activity
- Slower reaction time
- Low energy and endurance capability
- Depressed mood
- Lack of desire to exercise
Like we need anything else to help convince us to stay home and eat pizza instead of heading to the gym.
5. You're struggling with your weight
While a lot of people only focus on "eating less and moving more" when it comes to weight loss, how we sleep can have a major impact on the numbers on the scale.
Poor sleep has been linked with excess body fat, as it can:
- Disrupt appetite regulation
- Cause increases in hunger
- Lead to increased calorie intake
Sleeping your way to weight loss may not be a sure-fire strategy, but it's got to be worth a try, right?
So what can you do to fix it?
1. Turn off the electronics
Turn off or avoid looking at all devices at least 30 minutes before bed. Artificial light interferes with our production of melatonin, which ensures deeper sleep and may also help regulate the metabolism.
2. Create a relaxing sleep area
Your bedroom should be quiet and peaceful (most of the time...), relatively organised and free of anxiety-inducing clutter. Live in a busy area? You can use a white noise machine to drown out sound.
3. Go the $%#@ to bed
Sticking to a reasonable bedtime teaches your body when to release calming hormones to help you fall asleep.
Pro tip: Don't wait until after 12pm. Every hour of sleep before 12pm is worth 2 hours after.
Need a little bit more help?
I created a FREE 5-day healthy habits course to help busy men and women start eating, moving and living better straight away...
...without having to resort to any crazy workouts or ridiculous diet plans.
Sign up to the course and you'll learn:
- The best way to figure out portion sizes (no calorie counting required)
- How to stay on top of exercise even when you’re busy
- The secrets behind preparing the perfect meal
- Why sleep is important and how you can set yourself up for a good night’s rest...
...And hopefully much more.
The result? You'll be on the road to:
- Getting rid of the extra weight you haven't been able to shift for years
- Having enough strength and energy to chase the kids around the house (and actually catching them)
- Finally saying goodbye to dieting, worrying about food and obsessing over the numbers on the scale
So if you're ready to start building the healthy habits that can stay with you for a lifetime?
You can learn more and sign up here.