You’re nailing the eating plan and you’re all over the exercises but you still can’t seem to get in shape. It’s a frustration faced by many people starting their health and fitness journeys. Stress management specialist and life coach Nam Baldwin says it might be down to one bad habit – neglecting your sleep.
“Achieving and sustaining your fitness goals requires a constant supply of energy, and by energy I don’t just mean physical energy, you also need mental and emotional energy to stay true to your goals,” Nam told Women’s Health.
“The number one drain on energy and well-being is stress, and bad sleeping habits are very stressful.”
Not having enough energy can have serious, and unexpected, impacts on your body.
“You find it hard to be physically active, you crave calorie dense and sugary foods whilst lacking the mental strength to say no to them,” Nam says. “Your hormones go out of whack which affects your emotions unfavourably whilst the boost in stress hormones often sees you holding on to more fat.”
Despite its importance, Nam says many people still aren’t prioritising their ZZZs.
“Sadly I think some very intelligent people are very aware of how better sleep could assist them however they don’t put the rituals into practice because they are too addicted to tech,” he says.
If this sounds like you, Nam has shared his bes tips for improving your sleep.
1. Your room should be very dark
Ideally you can’t see your hand if it’s in front of your face. I also start dimming the lights one to two hours before bed.
2. Your room should be very quiet
We have our bedroom noise proofed.
3. Keep your room temperature on the cooler side
There are great inventions out there now which can have one side of the bed cooler than the other depending on partner's preferences. Your bedding and sleepwear all also influence this.
4. Find the right mattress, pillow and sleepwear
Spending the dollars to get this right is worth every penny! I personally advocate Under Armour Athlete Recovery Sleepwear which includes far infrared tech that converts my own body heat into a far infrared waves penetrating my skin up to 1.5 inches and assisting in the breakdown of waste products such as lactic and uric acid and therefore sharing part of the recovery load whilst I sleep.
5. Ensure airflow
If your partner's sleep habits are disturbing your sleep it’s something that must be worked on in a ‘positive’ manner.
7. Keep an eye on your eating habits
Eat two to three hours before bed, and remain hydrated. No late afternoon or late night stimulants i.e. caffeine, alcohol, sugary desserts.
8. Create a sleep routine
Follow the same sleep-wake cycle every day, even the on weekends if you are trying to improve your sleep habits.
9. Get outdoors in the morning ASAP
This boosts your production of the hormone melatonin so that later in the evening when it becomes dark it can be released by your pineal gland in your brain, allowing you to fall asleep.
Nam Baldwin is a highly qualified emotional and stress control / management specialist, co-developer of internationally recognised B.E.T Training, mentor and motivational life health coach.