By Dylan Porras
Have you ever asked yourself why you aren’t getting the results you want?
Have you ever felt like you’ve been putting in a ton of work but it’s not showing?
In this 3-Part Article, I will cover some of the common reasons I see, anecdotally, for a lack of results (or fewer results than desired) as a fitness, nutrition and accountability coach at Blue Titan in Rockaway NJ.
Let’s dive in.
REASON #1: SLEEP
There are enough books to fill an entire library on this topic and plenty of resources online so I’ll do my best to hit the major points as to why lack of sleep disrupts your progress (and more than most people expect!) and why it is the first areas of focus with my private clients.
The primary reason poor sleep seems to be related to poor performance and/or weight loss is its negative effect on hormones.
When we don’t get enough sleep leptin, ghrelin and HGH are affected most. Leptin and Ghrelin are the hormones that produce feelings of satiety or hunger. This can lead to overeating, stress eating and an overall poor ability to burn and utilize fat while you are sleeping (did you know you burn calories in your sleep?!?!).
HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is also known as the “Fountain of Youth” for its ability to improve health, weight loss, muscle growth and the fat burning potential of the body. HGH is produced when we are in a deep sleep. Not getting enough sleep (or getting poor sleep!) and the resultant decreased production of HGH, inhibits these processes.
In one sleep study comparing two groups, one with 8 hours of sleep and the other with 6 hours of sleep per night, the group with more sleep lost more weight AND performed better in fitness testing. After 14 days of this sleep pattern, the group sleeping only 6 hours per night performed WORST than the a group that spent 2 full days with NO sleep!
Interestingly, however, when asked how they felt, those who slept only 6 hours said they “felt fine”!
You may feel ok – but that does not mean you ARE ok. So, stick to at least 7 hours of sleep each night to get the most fat burning, performance enhancing benefits possible.
Another study done by the University of Chicago discovered that the average person overestimates how much they sleep by nearly a full hour!
As a private coach for over a dozen clients, this was revelatory and further justified our requirement of sleep monitoring devices like a FitBit to verify sleep numbers with our private clients.
The bottom line is this; Whether you are looking to lose weight, stay healthy, compete professionally or simply get shredded, you simply must prioritize sleep. While it is easier said than done, it is not something you can skip and get away with. A lack of quality or quantity will adversely affect your desire to improve your fitness and health.
Some tips to help improve your sleep are:
1. Avoid Electronic Screens the hour before you go to bed.
2. Use Blue Light Blocking Glasses (Blue Light, the kind from computer monitors, inhibits the body’s ability to produce melatonin, the sleep signaling hormone)
3. Sleep in a Dark Room
4. Have a nighttime routine (set the mood)
5. Avoid caffeine after 2 pm.
6. Go to bed at the same time every night (even consider setting an alarm to begin the process at the same time each night!)
7. If you must drink alcohol, go to bed 1 hour per drink AFTER your last drink (For example, if you have 2 glasses of wine, go to bed 2 hours after your last glass).
7. Consider sleep enhancers like Prestige Labs Sleep Multiplier or “Sleepy Time Tea” but AVOID melatonin or prescription aids whenever possible
“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together” -Thomas Decker
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