Sleep and rest are important aspects in achieving your physical goals, and also for your mental health (think of stress levels, energy, mood, focus, etc). Many people may not understand how important the quality and duration of sleep is, which often results in having less physical results over a long period.
Studies show that lack of quality sleep over a longer period results to 40% less fat loss, increased appetite by 15 to 24%, slowdown of the metabolism, decrease in testosterone production, decrease in cognitive functions/skills, increased insulin resistance and even more prone to inflammation and illness.
The difference a good night’s sleep should not be underestimated, not only in making progress physically, but also for the wellbeing of your body.
But what aspects are essential to cover in terms of sleep?
Here are a few basic guidelines:
- How many hours of sleep do you have each night?
- Are you having trouble falling asleep?
- Is your sleep cycle being disturbed by waking up multiple times each night?
- Are you sleeping enough hours but still wake up tired?
How to fix these aspects?
Here are some tips:
- Stop performing stressful activities just before bedtime, such as work and working out.
- Reduce your caffeine intake. Many individuals consume caffeine in excess, resulting in poor sleep quality.
- Create an evening ritual. Before going to sleep you can (for example) make a to-do list for the next day, dimming bright lights, followed by setting your alarm clock and putting away your phone, reading a book, meditation, having a warm shower/bath and then go to bed.
- You could also make it a 1-2 hour ritual so your body can really get ready for the sleeping process.
- If you wake up at night to go to the bathroom, go back to bed as soon as possible without checking your phone.
Not everyone has the same eight hour sleep cycle, it’s different for everyone. It is a good general guideline however to figure out whether you sleep enough by writing down how many hours you have slept each night and how you feel when you wake up, every day for a week or two.