Exercise, Sleep & Your Waistline

by | January 24, 2019

Exercise, Sleep & Your Waistline

Have you ever considered the effect of exercise & sleep on your waistline when it comes to your health?

When it comes to managing your health and your weight, it’s no secret that exercise and sleep are huge factors.

You know that exercise will help you burn off some extra calories and boost your metabolism. But you also know that sleep is essential for your overall health and well-being.

Better to skimp on sleep and get up early to workout?

Or better to sleep in and skip the gym for another day?

waistline belly

Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. We need exercise to sleep better but we also need sleep to exercise. And when it comes to weight (and waistline) management, we need both.

So let’s take a closer look at how exercise and sleep affect each other and which one takes the lead when it comes to managing your waistline.

The Exercise & Sleep Connection

If you’re looking to get a better night’s sleep, it’s time to lace up those running shoes.

A study by the National Sleep Foundation found a 65% improvement in sleep quality for participants who performed 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week. [https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/study-physical-activity-impacts-overall-quality-sleep]

That means that something as simple as a brisk walk for 30 minutes, 5 times a week can help you feel more rested and refreshed.

Want Muscle? Get More Sleep!

If you want to see big results from your workouts, you’ve gotta catch some zzz's!

Sleep is crucial when it comes to exercise recovery...and recovery is where the post-workout magic happens!

As we rest, our body is busy repairing the microscopic muscle tears from our last weight training session. As these muscles repair, they come back bigger and stronger; increasing your strength and boosting your metabolism.

If you’re not seeing the results you’d like from your gym sessions, the answer may be an earlier bedtime. Make sure that you’re getting adequate sleep to help your body repair and recover.

SLEEP PRO TIP: to help wind down and fall asleep faster - turn off all electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed, preferably 2 hours. The blue light emitted by electronic devices has been shown to disrupt your sleep pattern - circadian rhythm - throwing it out of whack. Worse still, research shows that blue light may contribute to the causation of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. So switch off !

Does lack of sleep affect gym performance?

If you’re still thinking of hitting that 6am spin class after a late night out, you may want to reconsider.

An ACSM study showed that sleep deprived participants had a slower response time and fatigued much quicker than when they were well rested. [https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2013/12000/Does_Central_Fatigue_Explain_Reduced_Cycling_after.5.aspx]

The study participants also reported a higher RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) and were more likely to quit their workout early.

The conclusion? This doesn’t mean that you should skip activity altogether on those groggy days. Instead consider a lower intensity activity such as walking or yoga and leave the high intensity training for days when you’re well rested.

To sleep or to train? Which one will help you button your jeans & trim your waistline?

When it comes to weight (& waistline) management, both exercise and sleep are important. But if you had to focus on one thing only, it turns out sleep trumps exercise.

One study compared weight loss efforts of sleep deprived adults versus those who were fully rested. The sleep deprived group rested for only 5.5 hours while the fully rested group got a full  8.5 hrs of shut-eye. [http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/746253/insufficient-sleep-diet-obesity]

The results? Those with limited sleep lost less body fat and more lean muscle mass. Not the result you want if you are trying to keep your waistline in check - sleep really is important if this is your goal!

So does this mean you should just forget about exercise?

In a word...NO.

Exercise still has tremendous health benefits so you don’t want to quit altogether. You may need to temporarily reduce the intensity of your workouts (not ditch your workouts) if you’re not getting adequate rest.

Once your sleep game is strong, you can resume those higher intensity workouts and have energy to spare.

Having trouble winding down at night?

Add some sleep hormones to your diet!

In fact, did you know that it has been suggested that foods that contain naturally occurring Melatonin (dubbed the “sleep hormone”) may be a better alternative than over-the-counter supplements? [https://sleepjunkies.com/tips/can-cherries-enhance-sleep-quality/]

This Sleepy Time Cherry Smoothie Recipeis made with tart cherry juice - an ingredient that contains Melatonin, and has been proven to help you sleep better. Plus, it just happens to taste pretty great too!

References

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/study-physical-activity-impacts-overall-quality-sleep

https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2013/12000/Does_Central_Fatigue_Explain_Reduced_Cycling_after.5.aspx

http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/746253/insufficient-sleep-diet-obesity

https://sleepjunkies.com/tips/can-cherries-enhance-sleep-quality/



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