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Tired of not getting the best results from your nutrition and exercise plan? You might actually just be tired. My advice? Make time for quality rest. Go to bed, wake up energized and get the best possible results from your fitness plan.
A good rest can sometimes be as beneficial as a good workout. This is especially true if you have a busy, demanding schedule. Today, I want to share with you some of the benefits of getting a good night’s rest, and give you tips to help improve your sleep quality. Insufficient sleep can sabotage even the most disciplined health plan, because tiredness and everyday fatigue can often make you fall into what I call the “no results sleepy body cycle.”
Improving your sleep quality and creating good slumber-time habits may help you to improve your body composition and your overall mood. Next time you’re planning an early night but get sidetracked, think about how easy it is to find yourself in a vicious circle that leaves you feeling more tired than ever.
Many parents set wonderful bedtime habits for their children. A bath, story time, a warm glass of milk… But for themselves, they’d collapse on the couch and get very little good-quality rest. I know this firsthand as a mom—I’ve been very conscious about setting a good bedtime routine for my kids. However, on some occasions I fall very short of the 6-8 hours of quality sleep I need per night.
My body feels and looks tired when I’m not getting adequate rest. And that’s no good. I bet that you start to feel increasingly lethargic if you aren’t sleeping well, too. Poor quality rest means it’s hard to find the energy for a good workout.
You may be reading this and thinking, ‘How are improved sleep habits going to help boost my fitness level and improve my body composition results?’ Here’s a little bit of exercise science for you…
It’s not the actual workout in the gym alone that helps your body to positively evolve and adapt. Exercise actually places stress on your body, and it’s your body’s ability to respond to and rebuild from this stress that creates results in body improvement. This is why nutrition and recovery are an essential part of any good exercise/athletic training routine.
I find that a face cleansing routine using warm water and my favorite products gets me into a bedtime frame of mind. I feel as though I’m removing all the dirt and stress from the day. It’s my internal cue to go to bed after a long day.
Avoid using the computer and TV as much as possible as part of your bedtime routine. The screen on these devices just further stimulate your senses. Sometimes when you’re very tired, you’ll fall asleep with the TV on. A few hours later you’ll be disappointed when the noise from the TV wakes you up from a perfect slumber. Instead, calm your mind with reading a good book or listening to soothing music.
Avoid sugary foods and alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol in particular can be responsible for disrupting the most important part of your sleep cycle and can wake you up in the middle of the night. A better solution would be to try calming your body with simple yoga stretches, or start to practice meditation.
It’s important to sleep in a room that’s dark, because lights can be stimulating. Exposure to light also affects your natural circadian rhythm. It feels natural to go to sleep when it’s dark, and to venture out for fresh air when it’s bright. Turn off all of the lights at bedtime. If your sleep environment is naturally lit, or if you’re a night-shift worker, consider installing light-blocking curtains. If you’re a frequent traveler like me, use a good eye mask on your travels. Excess light can disrupt sleep.
I hope my tips on good sleep habits work for you. The next time you need a good excuse to head to bed early, you can say, “I’m going to get a little extra shut-eye to help build my six-pack!”
Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Independent Herbalife Members and employees. Through in-person training sessions, educational tools and materials, and her blog (www.discovergoodfitness.com), she ensures that the important role of exercise as part of a healthy, active life is understood by all. She also helps create, organize and promote employee fitness programs and activities as an integral part of the company’s corporate wellness program.
A native of Liverpool, England, Samantha initially worked as a consultant for Herbalife for two years and led the Herbalife24-Fit program, the company’s first comprehensive fitness training program and DVD series.
Before joining the corporate ranks, Samantha was a professional athlete. She represented Great Britain in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. Prior to the Olympics, she won two medals in the Olympic AAA trials – a silver medal for the 200m and a bronze for the 100m – as well as a silver medal in the 4x100m relay during the European Junior Championships in 1997. Her personal records include 11.40 seconds in the 100m and 23.02 seconds in the 200m.
Samantha is a personal trainer and group exercise coach through the American Fitness and Aerobics Association (AFAA) and International Sport Science Association (ISSA).