A lot of people start a weight loss journey thinking it’s all about the exercise and nutrition but what they don’t realise is that there are so many more factors to take into consideration. For example, sleep is a big one that sadly gets left out altogether. We need sleep for optimal cognitive function, to prolong mental stamina, lower stress and enhance creativity otherwise long days at the office become seemingly difficult, coordination is harder and concentration is shortened. However what people don’t realise is the importance sleep has when it comes to weight loss.
“We know there are consequences when we don’t have adequate sleep, yet we give up sleep for work, social activities and responsibilities.” Sleeping poorly can have a range of side effects that impact on our weight. It can lead to poor food choices, lack of energy to exercise and it can make our metabolism more sluggish. To overcome these issues, Dr Banks recommends factoring exercise into your daily schedule. Some of us can feel overwhelmed or over worked and think exercise is only going to exhausted us even more. But the fact of the matter is exercise can increase our productivity as well as our energy levels. With at least 30 minutes a day, productivity at work (and some time away from the computer/desk) can be increased by 65%.
If you have trouble falling asleep, Dr Banks suggests introducing a “buffer zone” that involves relaxation or relaxing activities between hectic daily activity and your restful period of sleep. Getting the odd bad sleep won’t impact on your weight however if it becomes more of a habit than not than side effects such as weight gain can occur. If you’re constantly waking feeling unrefreshed, good bedtime habits could be the best thing for you such as meditation and slowing down the breath and activating the para-sympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system is one of three divisions of the autonomic nervous system. Sometimes called the rest and digest system, the parasympathetic system conserves energy as it slows the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. The parasympathetic nervous system is the good nervous system not the bad hence why it is so important to keep healthy and happy. We can do this through some extra shut eye and meditation or yoga practices.
At Real Fitness we encourage our clients to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. We also offer a meditation class and yoga on a daily basis to help clients activate their parasympathetic nervous system and allow them to feel the benefits. Hopefully you can now understand the importance sleep has when it comes to weight loss and getting to bed on time. Putting down the technology an hour or two hours before bed and exercising during your lunch hour. It all helps towards your health and fitness goals.