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5 Sleep Tips To Boost Your Weight Loss Progress


If you asked somebody to change one thing about their lifestyle that would burn fat they would probably choose one of the following:

  • drink more water

  • eat less sugar

  • reduce alcohol intake

  • exercise more

  • eat more… avocado on toast…?

Not many people would look at sleep as their go-to choice. It’s a shame because that’s exactly what 90% of people should be looking to improve. If you follow this blog you will know the topic of sleep has come up about 89 times (obvious over-exaggeration.) and there’s an important reason why.

Most people think of fat loss being determined by the food you eat and how much exercise you get. But in actual fact sleep plays a crucial role in fat loss because a lack of sleep can affect your hunger hormone levels which are responsible for regulating your feeling of hunger and satiety. [1]

But because sleep is considered a boring topic to discuss (if so I’m not sure why you’re reading this blog!) and most people want to discuss something sexier like insulin spiking or why their box-ercise 9000 circuit class is the next best thing since sliced bread it never gets discussed.

“It’s usually the thing you are avoiding that is probably going to be the thing you need to work on!” R.Angel (just now)

What people don’t know is that there’s more to better sleep than just getting eight to ten hours.

So let’s look at 5 tips to improve your sleep that go beyond the obvious.

Room set-up

The state your bedroom is very important and if your body is not primed for sleep under the correct conditions this can affect the quality you get. Quality is just as important as quantity because if you consistently get up during the night you interrupt the body’s natural sleep cycle – the circadian rhythm

You may have heard the term REM sleep.

We want to be in as much REM sleep as possible as this is where most of the recovery process happens. Your body will naturally fall in and out of REM sleep and into light sleep, but the more we are in REM sleep the more we recover. And so the more you wake up during the night the less time you have to recover.

Ensure that your room is cool enough so your body is able to relax because our body is able to relax more efficiently at a cooler temperature. If you are in the middle of your room and you feel a bit chilly have found the ideal temperature. Also make sure the room is dark like a cave and that there a little sounds as possible is getting in.

Your room should be clear of rubbish and is at least half-tidy. The more mental or physical clutter you hold onto in your sleep domain the more likely you will stress about it which lowers your ability to shut off from the world. Keep your room tidy!

Understanding melatonin

This is a hormone that controls our ability to relax and wind down. It’s secreted by the pineal gland which is located in the brain, and as melatonin rises, cortisol (the ‘stress’ hormone) falls.

You also find melatonin in foods; namely grapes and as a by-product wine [1]. So a glass of wine before bed can be a good thing after all. Who knew wine was magical.

Ok it’s probably the grapes but you get the point!

If you would like a short term fix then supplementation is an option. Start with 500mcg and if this doesn’t work increase to around 3mg. Melatonin isn’t addictive but you do not want to rely on this option as a long term fix as we want to avoid supplementing with hormones. Fix your lifestyle and your body will sort out the rest.

The pre-bed ritual

How you prepare for bed can be make or break sleep for a lot of people. As we have mentioned we want to raise our melatonin levels as much as possible. To do this we need to be relaxed and in the right mind state of mind.

DO NOT stare at screens right before bed. There’s a very concrete study on blue-light and melatonin secretion (perhaps we’ll post it sometime) that show blue-light can severely affect melatonin levels. To the point where people wake-up feeling tired, moody and not ready for the day ahead.

Half an hour before you hit the pillow, turn off all electronic devices. This means TV’s, computers, laptops and phones. Carry out menial house chores like the washing up. A short yoga session or meditation session. Stretching, foam rolling, run a bath.

When you are in bed do some reading until you can no longer keep your eyes open or talk to your partner or get some extra cardio in.

…the bedroom should be used for two things right? So use it wisely!

Like clockwork

As mentioned earlier your body craves routine and order. Your best bet is to create a consistent time that you go to sleep every single night. Late shift workers are going to struggle with this but the rules still apply so ensure that when you get home you are off to sleep or that you are at least going to bed at the same time.

Once you’ve nailed this you will have less struggle getting up in the morning because you have hard-wired yourself to stick to a familiar pattern. There’s nothing better than beating your alarm and feeling as fresh as a daisy!

Diet

Check back to here about the problem with caffeine consumption. With that covered let’s talk about diet.

I generally find that a lot of clients work well when they have a full stomach of food before they go to bed because they are less inclined to wake up feeling hungry.

Think about it. If you last meal of the day is at 6.30 pm and you go to bed at 10.00 that’s 3.5 hours of an empty stomach PLUS eight to ten hours of sleep!

Test out which works best for you and optimise your food timings. If you are waking up because your stomach is grumbling do your best to eat your final meal later in the day.

Try these out an you are guaranteed to improve your sleep and your chances of achieving a fantastic looking body!

Want to focus more and lose weight? Of course you do! Then focus on the daily free training and nutrition tips over at:

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References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22017461

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