How Sleep Loss Can Affect Diet and Exercise Goals
When many diet and fitness enthusiasts think about maintaining their shape and health they almost always believe that they can achieve this through diet and exercise alone. They often overlook the importance of sleep and how closely it is linked to achieving their health and wellness goals. In fact, the daily shut-eye they take for granted is vital for keeping the body functioning well.
At least 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is recommended for adults to maintain their health. This article explores how getting adequate, quality sleep is as important as chasing after diet and exercise.
What is Sleep?
Humans fall asleep naturally when brain activities that keep the body awake slow down to a point where the body falls into a subconscious state. During this period which can last for hours, you will go through 4 stages of sleep ranging from light to deep sleep. There is some level of awareness and ability to respond to sounds but it depends on which stage of sleep you're in.
Why is Sleep Important?
Getting enough sleep is important for the body to repair, renew, and rejuvenate itself. During sleep, the body uses the hormone insulin to store away energy for later use. Another hormone, cortisol, is regulated to lower stress.
Toxins are also removed from the body while you're asleep. Cell repair and renewal is necessary for strengthening the immune system and regulating metabolism. In essence, sleep is a process that resets the body so it can function at optimum while you're awake.
What Happens When You Don't Get Enough Sleep?
There is a range of negative effects of sleep deprivation. They can be physical, mental, emotional, or psychological signs that indicate that the body and mind are not functioning as they should. Some common signs and symptoms of chronic sleep loss are:
Mood swings or "bad" moods
Drowsiness or sleepiness during the day
Headaches or migraines
Feeling stressed or depressed
Lack of concentration
Brain fog or poor memory
How Sleep Deprivation Affects Diet and Exercise
Sleep deprivation is a chronic condition that occurs due to long-term lack of sleep. Not Getting at least 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night can suppress the immune system and lead to medical problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, heart disease, or diabetes.
While trying to eat a balanced diet and exercising are ways to stay healthy, when sleep is lacking it can slow down the body's metabolism making it difficult to regulate important hormones responsible for managing weight gain.
Poor or consistent sleep interruption can also lead to weight gain because the body may be unable to efficiently produce and use insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. It also stimulates the hunger hormone, ghrelin, causing you to overeat. Overeating may cause you to feel lethargic and lazy to exercise. Sleep loss also prevents the body from producing protein for cell and tissue repairs and muscle building.
4 Tips to Help You Get a Good Night's Sleep
Sleep on a regular schedule: Try to go to bed at the same time each night, preferably by 9 pm. Studies show that body rejuvenation occurs between 10 pm and 2 am. You may set an alarm to remind yourself to go to bed on time.
Treat yourself to a comfortable mattress: People will spend lots of money decorating their homes but neglect to buy themselves a proper bed and comfortable mattress and pillows. Instead of interrupted sleep due to tossing and turning all night on a poorly made mattress, you can treat yourself to a natural organic latex mattress or even one that is tempurpedic. These mattresses are designed to help you get quality sleep.
Avoid coffee after 3 pm: Coffee is a stimulant that can keep you up way past your bedtime if you continue to drink it into the evening. Doctors recommend avoiding coffee or other stimulants after 3 pm. This gives the body enough time to process the caffeine out of your system.
You need to sleep for at least 7 hours nightly. So, if you've been dieting and exercising but not achieving your weight or wellness goals, it may be because you're not getting enough shut-eye.