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Sleep

Sleep and the brain

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We know we need to get enough high quality sleep every night, but how many times have you stopped for a moment and think what is going on while we sleep?

In fitness so many people talk about the benefits of sleep to help you lose weight and gain muscle but the benefits of sleep go far beyond that. While we´re sleeping our body is recovering and growing, but there´s a lot more going on especially in the brain.

During the day we go through a lot of situations, we need to pay attention to so many things going on. Sleep is one of those 4 principles of fitness that is so hard to study, and it´s so interesting. We can say that almost all animals sleep but why we need sleep is still a huge mystery.

During sleep our brain is supposed to be resting right? This is actually wrong, during sleep our brain is going through a lot of processes, there´s so much brain activity going on while we sleep. During this time our brain is processing all the information we got during day which are stored in the form of short-term memories, it takes all those experiences and information and test it, if the experience or information is relevant it stores it in another region of the brain so that we have access to it whenever we need it, long-term memory, if it´s not important it deletes all that information and experiences to make space for what´s going to come the next day.

This is why one of the best ways to learn something and actually remember it is to take the subject you´re studying, focus all your attention on it, whether it´s reading, writing, taking notes, or your favorite way to learn for about an hour or two and then take a nap. You´ll see you are able to remember a lot more just by focusing for a couple of hours and then resting than by spending hours and hours trying to learn something.

It also presents all with short stories, videos, or images that we call dreams, some experts that have been studying the brain think that our dreams help our brain make sense of all the experiences and information so that it can take it into pieces and put them together in a way that makes sense.

Our brain never rests and everything that´s going on our brain while we sleep is crucial for optimal health.

If we don´t get enough high quality sleep for just one night we can see the negative impact the next day, we are more forgetful, we´re not able to retain information, we need to read one sentence over and over, we can actually see that our brain is not as efficient as it should be, now just imagine what happens when this lack of sleep or poor sleep is chronic. Our Brain is never able to delete unimportant information, it can´t make all the cleaning and storage process and we just keep feeding it with more info until it´s a mess. Without adequate sleep our brain is not able to form and maintain the pathways that enables us to learn, think and concentrate.

For the brain to be able to go through all the process you need to make sure you´re going through all phases or stages of sleep for several cycles, plus you need to make sure it´s high quality. If you wake up and you feel tired it means you didn´t get high quality sleep even if you slept for 8 hours, you can get 6 hours of sleep and wake feeling energized and ready for the day, this means you get high quality sleep and your body and brain were able to go through all the processes to make sure you´re ready for the day to come.

Knowing that our brain is always working even when we´re sleeping can be a motivation to get enough quality sleep every night, knowing that if we want to learn faster and be able to concentrate and be more productive throughout the day we need sleep.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Why you need a morning routine

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How you start your day, what you do every morning right when you wake up and the first hour sets the pace and mood for your entire day.

If there´s something you can do that will improve your day is creating routines, there are activities we do every day and those activities can help us be more productive the entire day or they can ruin it completely. Having a morning routine is one of those routines you need to make sure is set properly.

A good morning routine will set your mindset and mood for success. If you want to be more productive, if you want to make sure that every day is as best as possible then a morning routine is key.

For some of us having a morning routine seems so selfish because it´s all about us, but we do need to be a little selfish every day and make sure we´re having enough time for ourselves so that we can give the best of us. A morning routine that centers on self-care and is designed to make you feel good will boost your focus and productivity for the entire day.

Do not hit the snooze button, it will make it harder for you to wake up and get up from bed in a positive mood and state of mind. Every time you hit that snooze button thinking about 5 more minutes and I wake up, that´s the moment you´re starting your day in the wrong way.

After waking up what you do depends of the time you´re waking up, if it´s still dark then making your bed is the a create start, then use the bathroom, wash your teeth, have breakfast, or you can get ready and go for a walk.

If you wake up later the best thing you can do right after you wake up is open the curtains, you want to get direct sunlight first thing in the morning to help your body keep your circadian rhythm in harmony so that it´s easier for you to fall asleep faster at night and it also makes it easier to wake up.

Exercising in the morning is a great way to improve your mood, it doesn´t need to be an intense workout, it can be a 15 minutes walk, if you´re not one of those who love exercising your only goal here is to keep your body moving as soon as possible you will burn some calories and also improves your mood, you can use that walk as a form of meditation to get center and self-aware. Take that time to be aware of your thought, everything that is going on in your mind and also how you feel, if there´s something negative and bothering you ask yourself if there´s something you can do about it, if it´s going to have a huge impact on a week from now or a month from now. If it´s not going to have a huge impact then stop worrying about it, and if there´s nothing you can do also try to stop worrying.

Make sure that your morning routine includes:

  • making your bed,
  • getting direct sunlight
  • doing some kind of physical activity
  • meditation

This points to consider may seem so simple but they are crucial, by making your bed you get a sense of accomplishment that sets you up with a success mentality for any other activities you need to accomplish throughout the day. When you get direct sunlight in the morning you make sure your circadian rhythm is working in harmony with the environment which makes it easier to fall asleep faster at night and it also keep all hormones and systems in your body working efficiently. By doing some physical activity you get your body moving which gets your blood and oxygen flowing through your body and also improves your mood. With meditation the goal is to be aware of everything that´s going on in your mind, all your thoughts and how you feel and let go of all the negative thoughts and feelings that don´t serve you.

Realize that social media is not part of a good morning routine, checking your email, social media or watching or listening to the news is not a good part of a morning routine, you can do that after you´re done the 4 essential points. Your morning routine is meant to help you set your mind and mood right for a great day so there´s no reason why you want to set your day on the wrong direction by checking you email or twitter.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

5 simple habits to improve sleep

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Our life is based on habits, what we do every single day is creating our life so if we want to be successful we need to develop the right habits this also applies for sleep, since we are lazy and our mind likes to avoid challenges and changes so by developing habits and systems we make everything simple for our mind and ourselves.

The easiest sleep habits we can develop and that will give us the best results are:

1. Turn off electric devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

Blue light has a negative impact on your sleep so if you turn off electric devices right before going to bed it will hard to fall asleep unless you had a very tough day and you´re really tired otherwise the light will make it harder for you.

2. Working out especially in the morning.

Exercise improves sleep quality it doesn´t matter at which time of the day you workout but if you can only train at night you need to make it moderate intensity and effort if you go to hard you won´t fall asleep fast, if you exercise in the morning you will get all the benefits of improving sleep at night thanks to the circadian rhythm.

3. Getting sunlight

Your body has an internal clock called circadian rhythm and getting sunlight exposure especially in the morning and turning lights and electric devices when the sun comes down helps the internal clock stay in tune which helps you fall asleep faster.

4. Breathing exercises before sleep

If you are stressed and tense when you go to bed doing some breathing exercises help you release tensions from your muscles and body and reduce stress.

5. Avoid caffeine before going to bed

Caffeine is a stimulant so it´s job is to keep you awake, if you drink coffee in the afternoon to get through all the work it may be causing problems to fall asleep. Drinking coffee in the morning is great but make sure that you don´t do it for at least 5 hours before going to bed, if you can avoid completely in the afternoon and late night that´s better.

These steps may sound so simple and they are, if you use them and make them part of a daily routine it will be easier for you to get enough good quality sleep every night. You can turn off lights and electric devices 30 minutes before going to bed and use those 30 minutes or part of them to meditate or do some breathing exercises, just by doing this you´ll see it´s easier for you to fall asleep and the next day you wake up and feel great, the more days you practice this the better you become and the best the results.

If you take this habits and make them part of your life you will improve the quality and quantity of sleep which can also reduce the quantity of it, if right now you need 7 hours but those hours are not good quality and by using this habits you improve the quality you may sleep 6 hours and feel great, or you may still need those 7 hours but you´ll feel amazing when you wake up, it all depends of your lifestyle.

There are different strategies or tools for each of the 5 principles of fitness but you need to try them and find the ones that work best for you according to your lifestyle, remember that you can´t let your life revolve around fitness, you need to find strategies you can adapt to your life and develop those strategies as habits.

If you have any doubt or question leave it down below and on Twitter, we´ll be glad to read from you and answer to help you improve your life and achieve your fitness goal.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Causes of sleep problems

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Sleep is one of the 5 elements of fitness and it´s key to help you achieve any fitness goal and live a better life, lack of sleep have a lot of negative impacts but there are also many things that can cause sleep problems.

One of the main causes of sleep problems is stress, if you have chronic stress your body won´t calm and relax and your mind don´t stop so you won´t be able to fall asleep or if you manage to do it you won´t feel rested when you wake up. Most of us have chronic stress and we don´t consider all the negative effects it has on our health and some of us don´t think of it as the cause of our poor sleep nights.

Digestive problems are also a cause of poor sleep, if you have digestive problems and you have a big meal or you have meals high on refined sugar and unhealthy fats you´ll feel bloated and constipated and when you go to bed you won´t fall asleep, your body will be working so hard to digest all that food.

The environment also affects the quality of sleep there are so many things you need to consider here starting with the temperature of the room which change from one person to another but too hold or too cold will impact negatively your sleep also lights and noise. If your environment is not completely dark this can cause problems for your internal clock so make sure that all lights are off, you can use nightlights in bathrooms to avoid accidents if you wake up in the night. Noises inside and outside your house can keep you awake or wake you up if you are not use to them, in this case it can be hard to control the noises but do what you can in your home to avoid any loud noise that can disturb your sleep.

Light is an important factor on the quality of sleep, we´re exposed to light a lot more nowadays and this changes the internal clock of our body. Light exposure from sun is not the same as light exposure from electric light bulbs. In the late afternoon or late night we turn on the lights to continue what we´re doing but this creates a delay in our sleeping patterns, the light clock we are using externally with electronics and electric light bulbs is not in rhythm with our internal light clock which goes with nature. Getting outside and having light from the sun in the morning and turning lights off when the sun goes down or around the same time keeps the internal clock of our body in sync.

The color of your bedroom can also impact the amount of sleep you get every night, some colors make you sleep less hours while other colors help you sleep more.

Blue light is also a problem lowering the production of melatonin, the use of electronics like computers, lap tops, cell phones are increasing the use of blue light and you use them a lot throughout the day, some of us use them at night right before we go to bed and sometimes in bed, checking news and social media accounts is one of the worst habits that are causing a lot of health problems.

Two things you can do today to improve the quality of your sleep is first reduce the time you spend using electronics, turn them off around one hour before you go to sleep, you can start with 30 minutes, turn the lights off also you can use this 30 minutes to meditate relax and calm and to release tension from your body and muscles.

Second try to get light sun every morning, if you can do some physical activity outside do it and reduce the amount of light in the afternoon and night, getting light from the sun in the morning and reducing light from electronics and electric light bulbs at night helps your body sets its internal clock.

I also need to mention that life is hard for all of us, there are times when we´ll go through a lot of difficult situations, one after another and this increases stress, worry it can lead to anxiety and depression and all this also impacts in a negative way all the 5 principles of fitness, in this case it is so hard to fall asleep and get enough high quality sleep every night, this happens to all of us from time to time and we need to find ways to solve those situation or at least cope with it so it doesn´t affect our health. If this becomes chronic then it leads to diseases. If you´re struggling with something in your life and you want to share it with us you can leave a comment down below, on Twitter or send us a dm, we´ll be glad to help you.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Sleep disorders

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Some of us don´t give sleep the importance it deserve, we have a lot of things to do and we love doing them that we don´t want to go to sleep, we´re so inspired and motivated by our work that someone needs to stop us, others don´t sleep enough because they need to finish their work even when they hate what they do and there are some others that can get 8 hours of sleep every night, they go to bed early but can´t fall asleep.

If you are in the last group you may have a sleep disorder and it´s the reason why you can´t fall asleep or you wake up at night, here are some of the most common sleep disorders:

1.- Insomnia.- When you have trouble to fall asleep or you wake up frequently during the night and when you wake up you don´t feel rested you feel like you didn´t get enough sleep, this can be caused by stress, jet lag, illness.

2.- Sleep apnea.- Here the regular pattern of breathing while you are sleeping get interrupted for short periods of time because the airway gets blocked.

3.- Nightmares.- This one is when your dreams are scary and you get frightened and fearful so you wake up, if this happens every once in a while is normal but when it´s constant it can be caused by stress, anxiety or worries.

4.- Shift work.- Working at night goes against the internal clock of the body and it´s harder to stay alert and productive during work time and you may have trouble to get 7 – 8 hours of sleep during day. Blocking all light and noises during your sleep time is key to help you get as much sleep as you can. Some people doing shift work like to spend some time of the day doing stuff they like or need to do and many of them don´t get enough sleep so for them is really important to get the recommended 7 to 8 hours.

5.- Restless legs syndrome.- If you feel the urge to move your legs at night while you are sleeping you may suffer from RLS, one of the causes is low levels of iron but there can be more.

We all suffer from sleep disorders from time to time, if you´re dealing with a very stressful situation, if you´ve been traveling a lot, if you are worried, it´s normal to have some nights of poor sleep every once in a while but when this is consistent then you need to do something.

There are different treatments for sleep disorders, some of them will be more beneficial than others and as with any other treatment you will get results fast, at least the symptoms will lower but almost all sleep disorders can be improved by making some changes to your lifestyle that start with making better choices, being more active during the day, especially in the morning, reducing stress and following a healthy nutrition program will improve the quality of sleep.

High levels of stress is a huge cause of lack of sleep, worries and fear also keeps us awake at night or we keep waking up. Tools or strategies like breathing techniques, meditation or journaling are great options to help you relax, calm your mind and body and helping you get better sleep. Exercise is also a good way to improve quality and quantity of sleep so if you can do some physical activity, especially in the morning it will help.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

How many hours of sleep do we really need?

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This is a question many of us keep asking time and time again, from what I´ve read and what I´ve seen the amount of sleep each of us per night will vary according to different factors like our levels of stress, nutrition, exercise, age, etc; our lifestyle will determine not only the amount of sleep we need but it will determine the tools we use for each of the 5 principles of fitness to live our best life possible.

Most people in the industry will say that we need around 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep per night but most of us don´t get that recommend quantity some of us because we can´t and some prefer to spend time late night watching Netflix or doing other stuff.

For someone who is very active during the day, someone who trained hard in the gym, someone who has a very stressful life getting the 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep is necessary because the body and mind needs to recover from all that stress and work of the day and get ready to start over again. Someone who doesn´t exercise hard and for someone who is able to maintain stress low the entire day can get only 6 hours of sleep and feel great.

Our age also plays an important point to consider, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the younger we are the more sleep we need, children need around 9 hours, adults around 8 hours, older adults around 7 hours.

The best way to know how many hours you need is by how you feel when you wake up, if you feel rested, with energy and ready to start your day then it was enough but if it´s hard to wake up and you want to hit the snooze button over and over, if you feel tired, if you lack energy then those are signs that you need to sleep more.

In any case, whether it´s 7 to 8 hours or 6 hours you need to make those hours count, quality of sleep is important, you may sleep 8 hours but if you keep waking up in the middle of the night you won´t get through all the phases of sleep and your body and mind won´t recover properly so when you wake up you won´t feel rested. You may get 6 hours of sleep but if those 6 hours were great and you were able to go through all the phases in each cycle when you wake up we feel rested, energized and ready for the day.

From all the research I´ve done, even when most experts recommend 7 to 8 hours if you do the math considering that each sleep cycle last around 90 minutes then you´ll need 7 and a half hours of sleep while others can do great with 6 hours. I consider to be more important the amount of complete cycles you get, if you wake up in the middle of a cycle you´ll feel tired but if you wake up right when it´s ending you´ll feel a lot better.

Quality and quantity of sleep are both important, you can make adjustments to the quantity according to your lifestyle but you need to make sure that it´s good quality. Enough good quality sleep helps you perform better throughout the day by increasing focus and concentration, increase productivity, you get better results, it´s easier to stay on track in any program and the reason for this is that your body is working the way it should, all hormones and systems are on balance, when everything is on balance everything works as it´s supposed to work and that´s when you are able to perform at peak.

Sleep is a crucial part of success in life, it makes your fitness journey a lot easier but getting enough good quality sleep is crucial for health so developing habits and a schedule that helps you get good quality sleep every night is key, we´re living very fast paced and stressful days so developing a routine before you go to sleep and right when you wake up helps you improve sleep by calming your mind and relaxing your body and also helps you focus and concentrate on what you need to do every single day to stay on track and achieve your goals.

If you need to sleep 7 to 8 hours but for different reasons you can´t get them, naps are a great tool, taking a nap between 12 pm to 2:00 pm can help you recover and continue with the rest of your day.

If it´s hard for you to get the 7 or 8 hours recommended try to focus on sleep cycles, how many cycles can you get each night? Try this and let us know your results by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter.

It all depends of you day and how active you are but, the most important thing to consider is to listen to your body, be aware of the signals it sends. How do you feel when you wake up? How do you feel all day long? Is there a moment when you start feeling tired? You also need to consider the other 4 principles of fitness, they all need to work together.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Benefits of a sleep schedule

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What I see in most people, at least the ones close to me is that they have a sleep schedule from Monday to Friday which are work days and on Saturday and Sunday they forget about it. From Monday to Friday their sleeping schedule is based on school or job and for Saturday and Sunday it´s based on parties or Netflix.

Having a sleeping schedule that you stick to every day, including weekends has a lot of benefits for your body and the most important is that your body gets used to going to sleep at the same time and waking up at the same which balance the internal clock of your body called circadian rhythm, the benefits of this are:

1.- It´s easier to fall asleep.- When your body gets adapted to your sleeping schedule it´s easier to fall asleep every night.

2.- Waking up without an alarm.- Once your body is adapted to waking up at the same hour is easier to wake up every morning and you will do it without an alarm clock, you´ll be waking up roughly at the same time.

3.- Consistent good quality sleep.- It´s easier to get good quality sleep every night since your body knows it´s time to rest and recover.

4.- Performance throughout the day improves.- Since you´re getting enough good quality sleep your body is able to recover and heal so your performance stays at peak.

5.- Stay lean.- When the internal clock of the body and all systems and functions are in balance working efficiently it´s easier to lose weight and stay lean.

This are just some of the benefits of having a sleep schedule, now that you know the benefits you need to make the commitment to make some changes to your routine, having a 9 to 5 job can make it more difficult so you´ll need to make your sleep schedule based on your working days, the goal is to go to sleep at the same time every day and wake up at the same time every day, also Saturday and Sunday or your rest day.

The first couple days are hard but you need to give time to your body to adapt to the routine, what you can do is try to mimic natural sunlight, when the sun goes down turn off the computer, tv, laptop, ipad, cell phone or if you can´t turn them off use blue light blockers like amber glasses. At least try to turn them off 30 minutes before going to bed so that your body starts to produce melatonin.

Since it´s hard to change routines from one day to another you need to start small, if you are not use to following a sleep schedule you need to set the time you want to fall asleep every night and the time you want to wake up every morning, make sure that you get at least 6 hours of sleep every night if possible. Once you have your times set you need to consider your actual hours, for example if you fall asleep at 10:00 pm and your goal is to sleep at 9:00 start by going to sleep 10 or 15 minutes earlier this week so instead of going to sleep at 10:00 pm you go to sleep at 9:45, the next week you go to sleep 10 or 15 minutes earlier which will be 9:30, you keep doing this every week until you reach your goal time. For waking up you do the same, if you want to wake up at 6:00 am but you wake up at 7:30 start by setting the alarm clock 10 to 15 minutes earlier and make sure you wake up when it sounds, instead of 7:30 it will be 7:15 and every week you wake up 10 or 15 minutes earlier until you reach you goal time.

For waking up you´ll need to set an alarm clock specially the first weeks, then when your body gets used to the routine and schedule you will wake up almost at the same time every day but if you need to arrive on time to your job or school I recommend setting the alarm clock so that you don´t arrive late.

Some of us may have intense job schedules and we only get around 5 hours of sleep per night from Monday to Friday, in this case using Saturday and Sunday to sleep more and recover from the week is a great option but if you are able to get 7 hours of sleep every night even on week days it´s more beneficial to have a sleep schedule for the seven days of the week.

Living a healthy lifestyle is based on habits and routines, the first days when you start making different choices is difficult and feels so uncomfortable, just stick with those new choices until your body adapts to those new routines and become habits, after that you´ll see that it´s actually simple and effortless to live a better life and you have so much freedom while staying lean and feeling great.

Let us know if you follow a sleep schedule by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter. Do you go to sleep and wake up every day at the same time or do you do you go to sleep when you feel tired and sleepy?

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Your lack of sleep may be disrupting your hormones

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Knowing how things work and the impacts they have in our body help us live a better life and achieve our goals in a simple way.

Nowadays sleep is one of our least priorities, if we want to lose weight we focus on diet and exercise and even when we know sleep is important we don´t give it the attention it deserves. Just one night of poor sleep will have negative consequences on your day and if this become chronic it can cause negative health problems.

Here we´ll talk about 5 hormones that are affected with just one night of poor sleep, this hormones are: cortisol, growth hormone, insulin, leptin and ghrelin.

Cortisol is the stress hormone, every time you are under stress your body releases cortisol to deal with that situation, your body needs more energy so it shuts down non essential functions for that period of time and glucose increases because it´s the preferred form of energy and you need energy in case you need to run or fight. Lack of sleep increases stress in your body so if you didn´t get enough good sleep cortisol will be high.

Growth hormone is the one that keeps you lean, it helps your cells use stored fat for energy and also repair and build muscle. Your body produces this hormone during sleep you need to get through all the phases of sleep for this hormone to get high. Lack of sleep keeps this hormone low making it easier for your body to store fat and even lose muscle tissue.

Insulin is known as the fat storage hormone, it takes insulin to the cells so it can be use as energy and it is triggered by carbohydrates, the higher insulin is the more fat you store and it´s also dangerous. Lack of sleep makes your body insulin resistant meaning that your body is not efficient using carbohydrates, your body needs to produce more insulin to get the same job done.

Leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite and it tells you when to stop eating by sending signals to your brain that you are full and that you have plenty of energy. Lack of sleep lowers leptin in your body so it can´t send signals to your brain that you are full so you keep eating.

Ghrelin also sends signals to your brain and tells you when you need to eat. Lack of sleep increases ghrelin so you are hungry all day. This is why your craving for sweets and unhealthy foods increases with just one night of poor sleep.

During sleep your brain is recharging so that you can learn, understand and memorize things with ease, lack of sleep affects your cognitive skills making it harder to retain new information, to react fast and make good decisions. Your attention and alertness lowers and you won´t be as creative as you can be.

Lack of sleep sends the wrong signals and trigger these hormones in the wrong way affecting not only your fitness goals but your health in general. One night of poor sleep will affect your day and you´ll see it in the short run symptoms like feeling tired, sleepy, lack of energy, hard to focus, cravings increase specially for sweets, being in a bad mood.

Chronic sleep problems can cause many physical and health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, anxiety. It also makes your hormones go out of balance the internal clock of your body go nuts.

Changing habits is key for good quality sleep every night, some of the causes of bad sleep are chronic stress and blue light, if you are stressed your body won´t relax and your mind won´t stop making it almost impossible to fall asleep and get the adequate rest. Blue light is present in almost all screens of technology devices like computers, lap tops, cell phones, tv. Avoiding the use of this electronics before you go to bed help you sleep better and faster, meditation helps you relax and calm and release tension from your body and muscles.

In future post we´ll talk about each hormone separately to go deeper so you can have a better understanding, if there´s something in particular you want to know just let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter, we´ll be glad to answer all your questions.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Why lack of sleep can make you gain weight

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If you want to make your weight loss journey easier and maintain a lean physique then you need to pay attention to the quality and quantity of sleep.

We´ve mentioned before that weight loss is not only about calories, in fact it is more about hormones and metabolism and sleep plays a huge role on maintaining all hormones and systems on your body in balance. Lack of sleep has a negative impact on your brain and body, this include your weight.

There´s so much research and studies done about the relationships between sleep and weight and it´s clear that when you don´t get enough high quality sleep you gain weight or at least it is harder for you to stay on track, the reason for this is hormones.

Some hormones regulate your hunger and appetite, these hormones are leptin and ghrelin, when leptin is up you have less cravings and you eat less, when ghrelin is up you have more cravings and you eat more. With lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep leptin decreases and ghrelin increases this is why it is harder to avoid unhealthy foods and to follow a diet when you didn´t get enough high-quality sleep.

Lack of sleep increases cravings for the unhealthy foods you need to avoid, highly processed and refined foods that are loaded with sugars, trans fats and unhealthy oils and if you eat them you´ll get into a cycle that is hard to leave thanks to the signals this food sends to your body including your brain. We also need to consider that you not only have cravings for unhealthy foods and in most cases you´ll end up eating them, you also tend to eat more.

Lack of sleep or poor sleep make you feel tired, without energy to exercise so chances are you´ll skip the work out of the day and if you don´t exercise, you eat unhealthy foods and you eat more you have the recipe to gain weight.

If your body is working properly and everything is in balance it´s really simple to lose weight and maintain optimal health and also maintain a healthy weight and to keep all hormones and systems in balance you need to make sure that your diet is sending the right messages to your body and enough high quality sleep makes this possible in an easier way.

Leptin and ghrelin are just two of the hormones, there are other hormones like growth hormone and insulin that also play an important role on weight and optimal health. There are studies that show that one night of poor sleep increases insulin and when insulin is high then you don´t burn fat. For a healthy weight loss and to make it sustainable you need to make sure that you are losing fat and maintaining lean muscle mass, insulin blocks fat burn.

One night of poor sleep takes all hormones out of balance which makes it impossible to lose weight and if it is chronical the negative impacts are worse.

On future posts we´ll talk about why weight loss is not about self-control and will power, it´s about making sure that your body works properly, this means that you need to improve your health, to maintain optimal health you need to develop certain healthy habits and routines which includes enough high quality sleep, this is key to make sure that all hormones are working properly which is what makes your weight loss possible in a simple, effortless and enjoyable way.

Finding ways, tools and strategies that help you get enough high quality sleep is important, having a sleep schedule, exercising especially in the morning, using breathing techniques are some of the tools you can use to improve sleep.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you had pay attention at how you feel after a night of poor sleep, have you realized that you eat less, that you have more cravings and you more?

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

ExerciseSleep

How exercise improves sleep

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We can´t deny the fact that exercise has so many incredible benefits for optimal health and this includes sleep, if you want to get better sleep then make exercise part of your daily routine.

Nowadays we are more sedentary than we used to be some years ago and we do not prioritize our health, most of us live very unhealthy lifestyle created by negative habits and routines. This includes lack of exercise or physical activity.

Exercise helps you improve the quality and quantity of sleep, we´ve talked about on past posts about the internal clock of our body called the circadian rhythm and on future posts we´ll talk about our body temperature and how it fluctuates during day and night. Exercise helps keep your body in balance by increasing body temperature and keeping the circadian rhythm in balance.

The time of the day you exercise impacts the quality and quantity of sleep, if you do a high intensity workout at night then it will be harder for you to fall asleep which is not what we want so the best time to exercise is in the morning, it doesn´t matter if you go to the gym, if you exercise at home or if you go to outside; it doesn´t matter if you lift weights, if you do bodyweight exercises or if you jump rope or go for a walk; any physical activity done in the morning improves the quality and quantity of sleep. When you exercise in the morning your body temperature increases and then starts to fall, exercising in the afternoon still gives your body temperature time to fall before you go to bed.

If you can exercise outside and get sunlight you get a lot more benefits and this also improves the quality and quantity of sleep by keeping your circadian rhythm in sync.

The intensity and effort of your workouts need to be considered also, it´s not recommended to do exercise at high intensity and effort whether it´s resistance or cardio at night because it will take you so long to fall asleep and you won´t get high quality of sleep. If the only time you can exercise is at night make sure it´s moderate intensity and effort. If you can exercise in the morning then moderate to high intensity is better but always making sure that you are paying attention to proper form and avoid all injuries.

If your goal with exercise is to improve the quality and quantity of sleep then you don´t need to do long workouts, I don´t recommend more than 90 minutes of exercise actually and 90 minutes are not necessary. To improve sleep taking a 10 to 15 minutes walks is all you need to get the benefits. 30 minutes 5 days a week would be the ideal amount of time to improve sleep and also to improve your health. Starting with 10 minutes is a great way to go.

We also need to mention the exercise reduces stress and when you lower stress the quality and quantity of sleep improves, how many nights have you lied in bed ready to fall asleep but you keep thinking and worrying on everything going on with your life? From you school, grades, your job, your boss, finances, relationships? All these fears and worries increase stress and they keep you awake at night. Exercising is a great way to leave that stress out of your body and improve your mood.

When you exercise or do some physical activity you end up tired, exercise requires energy this is why when you do any new activity or go out and spend some time playing with friends, family or you have a camping day or any other outside activity that includes exercise and physical movement you feel tired and when you go to bed you fall asleep really fast. When you exercise you are using energy and this makes you tired so by the end of the day you want to rest so when you go to bed your body is prepared to get that well deserve rest giving it the opportunity to work properly.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you remember how you felt the last time you spent some time outside with friends or family doing any physical activity, playing a sport and having fun and if you remember how you slept that night.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam