Here on LaurenConrad.com, we have created such an extensive archive of diet and fitness tips that it’s hard to keep them all straight. Between tips for curbing sugar cravings, making your crunches count, and boosting your metabolism, there are few fitness mysteries that we leave unsolved. At least that’s what I thought up until about a week ago. I came across an interesting article on Livestrong claiming that people can actually sleep their way to better fitness. This idea left me so curious that I decided to do a little research of my own. What I discovered is that you can sleep your way to being more fit…and it’s easy too!
For all you insomniacs out there, I’m going to share a few tips below that will help you log in those healthy eight hours every night. But first, you need to know how this beauty sleep will help you become more fit and healthy…
Getting enough zzz’s each night will:
1. Keep your hormones in check.
Studies show that a lack of sleep can throw your hormones out of wack and increase your appetite during the day. According to Hello Beautiful, when you don’t get enough sleep, the production of the hormone leptin, which controls how satisfied you feel after eating, can decrease. You also have growth hormones in your body that help to heighten and control your appetite. Not getting enough rest causes this hormone to decrease, and you won’t burn energy as fast (Fit Day).
2. Give you the energy to get up for your early morning workout.
We’ve all been there before: You go to sleep past your bedtime and hit the snooze button instead of heading into spin class. While our bodies do need sleep in order to have an effective workout, ideally we should really be doing both. Logging in a workout and enough sleep will help to rev up your metabolism, burn extra calories, and allow your muscles to repair each night after exercising. Plus, if your body is tired it will be easier to fall asleep at an early hour.
3. Keep you mentally alert.
Getting enough sleep could mean that you’re alert enough to say no to that sugary doughnut at your morning meeting. When our brains aren’t functioning properly due to lack of sleep, our thoughts become groggy and our decision-making isn’t as strong. For this reason, snoozing will help you to keep long-term health and diet goals in check.
Now that you know how much good a little sleep can do for your body, here are five tips that will help you dream the (entire) night away:
- Set a bedtime for yourself. Keeping a consistent bedtime will encourage you to get the same amount of sleep each night, which should ideally be 7-9 hours. According to Livestrong, if you get four hours of sleep some days of the week and ten hours of sleep on weekends, you will still be susceptible to gaining weight. After sticking to your scheduled bedtime for about two weeks, it will become a habit.
- Wake up earlier. If you have a schedule that allows you sleep until noon, you will probably be tempted to stay up later at night, which can throw off your natural sleep cycle. Our bodies are programmed to sleep at night when it’s dark outside and wake up with the first light of dawn (Health.com). Going against this might make it harder for your mind to shut off for an entire eight hours.
- Create a peaceful sleeping environment. Make your bedroom a tranquil oasis—one that feels like a comforting and relaxing place to sleep. That means separating your workspace from your personal space (Yes, I’m talking to all of you bloggers out there who work from home). Watch TV in your living room instead of your bedroom, vow to stop checking emails an hour before bed, and above all, make sure your bed is extremely comfortable!
- Cut back on caffeine later in the day. This is one that I personally have trouble with as a coffee addict. But I’ve found that limiting my caffeine cravings during the day (especially past noon) helps my brain to have enough time to shut down by the time I head home from work. Plus, sugary vanilla lattes and energy drinks won’t do anything to help you become more healthy.
- Don’t eat late at night. Besides the fact that eating late at night can lead to eating more calories than you need throughout the day, this bad habit can also give your body a boost of late-night energy if you’re snacking on sugary foods (Nutrition). Your digestive system needs to get rest each night so that it can do its job digesting your food for the entire next day. If you eat right before you hit the hay, you might find yourself waking up with indigestion in the middle of the night and your metabolism can slow down too.
Do you stick to a sleep schedule? Do you have any secrets for getting to bed at an early hour on weeknights?
Leave your tips and tricks in the comments below. I’d love to read them!