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Good Sleep For Good Shape

Ever wonder why after putting in all those hours in the gym and following a healthy and strict high protein diet, you are still not able to reach your fitness goals? No matter what you do to achieve the perfect body shape, the “X-factor” always seems to be missing? That X-factor might be sleep deprivation. Many people overlook the importance of sleep and do not realize that without the ample amount of nap time, all your hard work at the gym and diet control might just go down the drain.

Here are some reasons why sleep is a necessity to optimize all the hard work you put into getting beefed up.

Sleep helps Build your Muscles

It might sound as a joke, but perhaps the easiest way to get those big biceps is through sleeping. The idea is pretty simple. The human body produces the highest volume of growth hormone during sleep time. When we sleep, there is not much energy consumption by our body, which coupled with the high amount of growth hormone in our blood stream, allows the body to efficiently build muscles rapidly. The growth hormone then does its magic to recover and regenerate muscles. Not only this, it also is responsible for promoting fat loss and reducing fat storage. Not having enough sleep will not only become a hindrance in this work of nature, but will also make your feel lethargic for the day to come, affecting your performance in the gym. Thus, keep dreaming about those biceps and one day, you might actually get them.

Good Sleep For Good Shape

Sleep Improves your Physical Performance

Did you know that athletes increase their sleep time to improve their performance? While sleeping, your muscles repair and the body rejuvenates. In other words, sleep recharges your body. A well-rested body will have higher levels of energy and thus, be able to perform better both mentally and physically. Likewise, if you put in extra amount of effort at the gym, you will need to increase your sleep hours to recharge yourself. A Stanford University study tracked college football players for several weeks and found that players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and stamina and had less daytime fatigue. Similar results were seen in researches tracking other athletes including basketball & tennis players and swimmers.

Lack of Sleep Makes you Fat

Sleep experts say that having less than 7 hours of sleep per night can cause weight gain even if you are on a weight loss diet. Surprising right? When you do not sleep enough the hormones in your body that help you feel satiated are significantly lowered making your stomach feel empty. When you wake up in the morning after a sleepless night, you feel tired and groggy, your head feels heavy while your stomach empty. You instantly go for a quick fix like caffeine to get you started for the day. While you are drinking that cup of coffee, you really are not unaware of what is happening inside your body.

What’s more alarming is that sleep deprivation affects your brain’s ability to make complex decisions, especially those related to food. It also impairs your brain’s ability to control food related urges. So you end up eating foods that ruin your diet but you really cannot help it. Just remember, if you’re on a diet do not mess with your sleep schedule.

Lack of Sleep Affects your Health

Lack of sleep can cost you much more than just a few extra pounds and energy loss. It can seriously affect your health. The hormonal imbalance caused by sleep deprivation lowers your metabolic rate and increases fat storage. So, the body ends up storing fat in all the wrong places, including tissues like the liver, which can lead to severe health problems like diabetes.
Furthermore, sleep deprivation has been linked to cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and weak immune function, to name a few. It is also very easy to catch a cold when you are sleep deprived In short, sleep affects your life expectancy.

How to Improve your Sleep

The question now arises as to how you can improve your sleep and cover your sleep debt. Improving your sleep requires the same level of commitment as any diet or fitness regime would. There is no quick fix to it and you will have to work gradually and patiently.

For starters, do not resist the urge to sleep. You body needs rest when it tells you to. You can start on a weekend and initially go to bed an hour or two early when you are tired. The important thing is to avoid caffeine, alcohol and foods that are high in fat or sugar content in the evening, so it does not disrupt your sleep routine and keep you awake in bed. You can start by sleeping 10 hours a night to compensate for the lack of sleep and after several days the amount of time you sleep will decrease to normal. If you are suffering from chronic lack of sleep, it is going to take a few weeks to cover your sleep debt.

Keep in mind that if you are already meeting the average sleep requirement of seven to eight hours per night, another half hour will not help you get in shape. if however, you are a five-hour sleeper, you will definitely improve your mental and physical fitness by following a strict sleeping routine.

So, if you really aim to get in good shape, think twice before compromising on your sleep and remember the new mantra “eat less, move more and sleep well”.

Eugene Gabriel

About Author:

Eugene Gabriel has always been fascinated with sleep and the effects or lack of good quality sleep has on the productivity and overall well being. Read his post on best sleeping positions. You can also follow him on Twitter @eugenegabrielj.

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