Sleep, Eat, Pilates, Repeat.
Most people in the UK are getting less than 6.5 hours sleep per night, and it’s taking its toll. Many of those surveyed admit to feeling short-tempered or unable to concentrate as a result; and as for having the energy to hit their exercise schedule and train effectively? Exercise can be easily pushed aside due to tiredness.
When it comes to improving fitness, very few people think of their sleep habits. In fact, getting a good night’s sleep is as important to your health goals as drinking plenty of water. Making sleep a priority should be up there with planning your week’s training schedule and menu.
The Sleep Council recommends between 7 and 9 hours’ sleep per night for adults. In reality, however, people are up late checking work emails and social media well into the night or watching TV on tablets in bed. Staying ‘plugged in’ to your tablet or phone forces your brain to stay awake, the blue light emitted from devices shuts down melatonin production, making it harder to sleep. It’s also much harder to de-stress if you’re thinking about work tasks right up until bedtime.
Sleep well = train well
Exercise and sleep are a virtuous partnership; exercising during the day helps the body to relax and sleep well, and a good night’s sleep sets you up for a great workout. Waking up feeling motivated and fresh means you can be more effective working out. Lack of sleep can sabotage your diet too, by suppressing your ‘feeling full’ hormone and and more prone to snacking. Sleep is also an essential period for your body to build in strength; your muscles repair, energy stores are replenished, and your blood pressure lowers.
Shutting down all devices for shut-eye.
Scary thought, maybe even leave devices in a different room? One of the best things you can do for a good night’s sleep is turn off your devices earlier in the evening and let yourself relax. Since stress is a major factor in preventing sleep, try to reduce the things which make you anxious in the evenings.
If the thought of not checking emails, social media etc worries you, then perhaps you could let your friends and family know that you are trying a new approach and won’t be picking up messages after a certain time. Its a tough one, its almost as though you have to discipline yourself.
If your mind buzzes with worries when your head hits the pillow, look at meditation or mindfulness techniques to help you calm your thoughts. Your diet can really help too; cut down on caffeinated drinks, opt for herbal tea during the evening.
Lack of sleep will leave you feeling low in energy, hungry and demotivated. It also gives your body less time to heal and rebuild between workouts. Instead, turn off your screens and turn in for an early night.
You will notice the difference.