Enough sleep is important for muscle recovery, hormone balance, and a recharged brain. The National Sleep Foundation states an average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night!! Try to get to bed 30-60 minutes earlier this week! Now I know we all KNOW this but as you read on, you’ll see how a lack of sleep could be holding you back from reaching your fitness goals such as losing weight and gaining muscles, especially if you are over 40. Why? Sleep helps balance your hormones which is directly related to things like appetite control and metabolism. When you do not get enough sleep the hunger hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for controlling our appetite gets out of whack giving our body less control of our hunger and cravings.
Another reason for the need for quality sleep is that during our DEEP sleep cycle, our body repairs muscle tissue and connective tissue allowing it to recovery from workouts and daily stress. Our body also sends more cerebral fluid up to the brain coating it and cleaning out “stress”, essentially giving it a “deep clean”. With this restoration process parts of the brain and body responsible for our other hormones are brought up to working order. Take a look below at some simple steps to improve your sleep.
Do you know what I learned recently about blue light? It keeps your brain from entering DEEP sleep as quickly, then it delays your brains production of melatonin (which puts you to sleep). So when you read “AVOID BLUE LIGHT”..don’t roll your eyes, do it! Avoid blue light at least 1 hour before bed.
Stress? What’s that! So yeah, I’m the LAST person that should be talking about stress management but that makes it a good reason for me too! I’ve actually taught a course called “Stress Management for Educators” (I’m going to publish an electronic version too) during the summer, well for teachers! Between being a mom, teacher, coach, training for marathons and triathlons, volunteering on the Park Board, High Trestle Trail committee, running the local swim program and helping get a all weather track in..I”d say I’m well versed in stress and ignoring it or dealing with it in an unhealthy way (drinking). My type A personality is FINALLY Learning in my 40’s what NOT to do, and I hope that my struggles can help others learn sooner than I did. When you learn the “science” behind things, it really has a way of changing your perception!
So…let’s talk stress. We have stressors in our life that create a “stress response” in our body called fight or flight. This response prepares us to run and hide or to punch something, for survival. This part of our brain doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a saber tooth tiger and needing to run for survival OR having to sing in front of a crowd. All our body sees is DANGER. During our fight or flight response our heart races, we start to sweat, our pupils dilate, blood rushes from our stomach to our extremities and we are ready to FIGHT or FLIGHT. This survival mechanism is great if we need it..but in today’s world, it’s not needed as much as it activated. This releases cortisol in our body, which is a hormone made out of fat, which is why you hear of people dying from stress related diseases included clogged arteries & high blood pressure. There are a few things you can do to combat stress before and after a stress response happens.
- Get plenty of rest
- Go for a walk
- Talk to a friend
- Practice deep breathing technqiues
- Consistent exercise
- Even the food you eat! (which I list below!)
WHAT DO MY HORMONES HAVE TO DO WITH ALL OF THIS?
LOTS! As you read above, enough sleep help controls and regulate our hormones and how we even react to stress. If we are tired, our reactions will be harder to control. If we’re stressed, we have more cortisol floating in our system. Sleep regulates our levels of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol helps regulate all other hormones in our body. The other main sleep hormone melatonin, if you remember helps us get to sleep. So remember, no blue lights an hour before bed, at least!
Lastly. Here are few steps to help re-set or improve your circadian rhythm which is responsible for your sleep and wake cycles.
- Have a morning and evening routine
- Exercise regularly (not before bed)
- Limit screen time
- Avoid alcohol or caffeine in the evening
- Gradually move your bedtime up 30 minutes earlier until your getting 7-8 hrs. consistently
- Get sun light in the late morning to early afternoon hours
- Open your windows or turn on lights as soon as you wake up
- Dim lights in the evening
If you are looking to dive even deeper into these topics including exercise and nutrition, join my FREE FITNESS ACCOUNTABILITY COLLECTIVE by clicking the link below.
You will also want to get on the FREE WEBINAR EARLY BIRD LIST called ENDURANCE UNIVERSITY! I’ll be sharing my signature practice on applying endurance training into your life. Endurance U (YOU) is all about embracing discomfort and struggle to be the happiest and most motivated you’ve ever been! Join us by clicking the link below!
I can’t wait to see you on the other side!! Don’t forget to follow, like and share for updates and freebies!