Sleeping and weight loss are connected. There’s no doubt about it. So, while it might not sound like a usual thing for a personal trainer to recommend, one of the primary components of any strategy I recommend includes advice to prioritize quality rest.
Sleeping and Weight Loss Are Linked
There are four basic components to any workout strategy I help my clients design. The exercise is only one part. The fact is that while that is absolutely critical to your fitness and fat burning, without the other three parts, you won’t get nearly as much out of it as you could.
The four parts that must go into any effective fitness strategy, no matter the final goal, are:
- Stress management
- Quality rest
This isn’t just a recommendation I make based on my own experience. It’s backed by important research. If you’re into reading studies, check out this one from the University of Chicago. The researchers there showed that by boosting the sleep of overweight people who weren’t getting enough rest, they naturally reduced their daily calorie intake by 270. Since most calorie-based diets recommend that you cut back by about 500 per day to lose a pound or two every week, it shows that just by resting, you can naturally be more than halfway to your calorie goal.
Getting It All Done Will Be Easier
Whether you count calories or not, the link between sleep and weight loss is bigger than that. When you’re well rested, life is easier. Motivation, drive, and energy are all there, when they’re absolutely not on your side if you didn’t get the rest you needed. This doesn’t sound like much until you try to face an intense workout, or you try to stick to a new eating strategy.
It’s at times like that when I feel the link between sleep and weight loss really comes out to shine. If you’re dragging all day, or even if you’re just not at your best because you aren’t well rested, then you’re going to feel less motivated to do your workout, you won’t put as much power into it if you do, and you’ll find it harder to eat what you should and within an appropriate quantity.
It’s natural. We all feel like that when we’re fatigued from one bad night of sleep or exhausted from chronic struggles to get the rest we need.
How to Improve Sleeping Habits for Weight Loss Results
If you have insomnia, it’s best to talk to your doctor to get some helpful advice about overcoming it. It might be that you have an underlying medical condition or are suffering from pain that is keeping you awake. Your doctor might be able to help you out in that department.
For those of us who just can’t seem to get the rest we need on a regular basis, here are my best tips:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Every day. Yes, even on weekends. I promise that it gets easier over time. Keep it up and you won’t need an alarm clock anymore. I’m not making this up.
- Make your bedroom perfect for sleep. Get black-out curtains, turn the temperature down to cool (but not cold) levels, and get a white noise machine to block out unavoidable ambient noise.
- Try a nighttime sleep aid. A good quality nighttime sleep aid can help you to get on track and set your natural waking and sleeping clock. This can be helpful in overcoming occasional struggles that will just happen no matter how great your habits are.
- Turn off your phone! I know you love your phone. I love mine too. But just for an hour before you go to sleep, stop looking at it. The screen’s light is part of what is keeping you awake. To really take advantage of the sleeping and weight loss connection, give yourself that hour.