Sleep is an often overlooked part of everyone's fitness routine. A good nights sleep helps the body and mind recover, keeps us leaner, happier, more focused and healthy. But bad sleep increases body fat, messes with hormones, ages us faster, increases chronic illnesses and reduces IQ. So why do we overlook this important part of the day? It is easy to stay up late watching tv - the bright light actually interrupts the circadian rhythm and reduces sleep quality. Or maybe its the overwhelming projects at work keeping you up. But whatever the reason, it is sabotaging your hard work at the gym and defeating your positive eating habits. 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended, you may find that you can get by on less, but it is short changing yourself and will catch up sooner or later.
How do you fix this? The body loves routines - get yourself in one asap. Create a pre bed process of gearing down. Try to limit caffeine and alcohol intake - caffeine after 4pm can interfere with falling asleep and excessive alcohol intake can effect deep sleep cycles. Stop use of all devices with a screen 30 minutes prior to sleeping. The brain produces melatonin as light levels decrease. Melatonin regulates sleep and metabolism, so it is crucial to do what you can to keep level. Exercise has been shown to normalize circadian rhythms, regulate endocrine function and tone down sympathetic nervous system.