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Why sleep is the key to a good fitness regime

Why sleep is the key to a good fitness regime

Sleep – it’s so underrated when it comes to improving general wellbeing, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. It's totally cool that you get up at 6am every morning to go for that 5k run (*high fives*) but not if it's at the expense of much-needed shut-eye.

Getting a full nights sleep can be tough. Last night, I managed to cram in a whole TEN hours - at least 3.5hrs more than usual, which got me thinking, how much do we really need? I’ll admit, I pay a lot of attention to my diet and exercise, but sleep often takes a back-seat.

We have all have a lot to do - shopping, cooking, working out, looking after the kids / your partner / your parents. Trying to fit in social time, work, and family duties is a very fine balance for most people - with sleep often a low priority.

But in terms of weight loss and tummy fat, did you know sleep is just as important as diet and exercise?

Reasons to get more Zzz's:

  • Sleep has a huge impact on your cortisol levels (stress hormones) which when elevated, can trigger fat storage.
  • Sleep deprivation also has a big impact on motivation and concentration levels. It without saying that when you're exhausted, your workouts are going to take a back-seat.
  • Sleep plays an important role in maintaining your immunity - especially important during winter! Lack of it can compromise your immune system's ability to fight off colds and flu. Don't let sickness slow you down lovelies. Ain't nobody got time fo' that.
  • Getting extra sleep can even improve your athletic performance. A study on swimmers in 2008 found that after seven weeks of extended sleep (10 hours a day) they were able to swim significantly faster and react more quickly.

Still perfecting my hand-lettering skills. No ink near the sheets - lesson learnt! @thefitfoodieblog via instagram.

Top Sleep Tips:

To ensure you can maintain regular training sessions, get at least 8 hours a night. Medical experts say that every hour before midnight is the equivalent to two hours after, so get to bed early Fitties, and try these simple remedies to induce a good night's rest:

  1. Turn off electronic devices and TV one hour before bed
  2. Take a good magnesium supplement. Tip: powder is better absorbed
  3. Rub lavender oil onto you wrists and behind the ears
  4. Drink a calming herbal tea
  5. Read a book or magazine
  6. Avoid heavy meals in the evening
  7. Switch up your exercise routine - workout more vigorously, for shorter periods of time
  8. Avoid afternoon naps (sorry!)

Skipping the Sleep Hangover

With winter in Australia in full-swing, we're battling a huge flu epidemic. Joy. So if you're struggling to breathe at night, you're probably suffering from 'sleep hangover' - code for that grogginess you get from poor quality sleep.  I've just laid my hands on some 'Breathe Right' nose strips to instantly open your airways when you're struck down with the lurgy, meaning I'm not snorting in Mr Fit Foodies ear. Genius.

These guys want to help you get a great night's kip too...

Sleep hangover? WIN two nights in the luxe QT Hotel!

Breathe Right want to hear about your sleep hangover - just use the hashtags #sleephangover #breatheright to instantly enter the competition to win a night for two at the QT Hotel (Sydney or Gold Coast) including a 90 minute massage for two at Spa Q (worth $400) and dinner (worth $300). Entries close 11th August 2015 and there are THREE to be won! For full T+C's, click right here. There's nothing better than crisp hotel sheets right? Dreamy...

Sleep tight Fitties,

the fit foodie




{Hero image via Pinterest}
Sally O'Neil - Editor in Chief

Sal is on a mission to prove that healthy and nutritious doesn’t have to be boring – and that even while staying in shape you can have your cake and eat it too. After losing 14kg from adopting a healthier lifestyle, she shares her journey with others on The Fit Foodie Blog. She also works as a commercial food photographer and stylist, is studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Nutrition and Dietetics, and is the author of two cookbooks: Love Move Eat (Bauer Media, 2017) and Meal Prep Plan (Murdoch, 2019).

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