L2 Fitness Blog

Why Is Sleep So Important?

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We know that sleep is good for feeling awake, but do we realize what a profound effect it has on our success in the gym?

Sleep is one of the pillars in a high performing individual. It is important to prioritize sleep as you plan out your week and set up your lifestyle.

What do you use to track your sleep?

A common misunderstanding is that to know we had a good sleep, we feel like our indicator is to not feel groggy in the morning. In a majority of cases however, after having a quality 8 hours of sleep, we will actually feel a little more groggy. This isn’t bad, it just means your body had a proper reset. Think about it, your body when resting properly is burning calories, it’s working, so it would make sense to feel a little bit dozy after a proper sleep.

Depending on your weight and the hours that you sleep, studies show that you burn between 50 and 70 calories per hour.

Think about it, if you get 8 hours of quality sleep, you could burn hundreds of calories, just by laying there. If you aren’t sleeping, your body is going to go into a state of survival mode. Think about it, your brain is used to sleeping at a certain time, and when it’s not, it is going to think something is wrong. While you’ll naturally be burning calories when you are awake, you are going to be storing calories because your body doesn’t know if you are in trouble or when you will get to sleep next.

Research tells us that adults should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per day.

While many of us with our busy lives tend to get away with less sleep, there is a factor that has been coined as “sleep debt”. Essentially, our body is banking this sleep debt, and at some point, we will need to pay that debt or our body will shut down.

If you had 3 nights with 6 hours of sleep and 4 nights with 8, your week would have a 6 hour sleep debt.

If you caught yourself having a random 6 hour nap one day, this explains it. Also, if you fall asleep as soon as you lay down, it means you carry a sleep debt, and it is hard on your body.

We can’t forget about shift workers or those working mixed schedules or in a bar. If this applies to you, you need to have an attack plan for how you will get that quality 8 hours of sleep.

Here are my “hacks” to hone in on my sleep schedule

  1. Reduce caffeine consumption by increasing water consumption.
  2. Eliminate screen time in the hours before bed. If you are just too hooked is to use the blue light filter. Blue light tells your body it’s time to be awake. Filtering it out of screens and blocking it out of your bedroom lets your body accept that it is night time.
  3. Eliminate things that make your brain work. Sleep time is for meditating and box breathing, not finishing a late assignment or brain games.
  4. Use a sleep tracker. Be aware of those times of restlessness or get that perspective of how much you ACTUALLY slept.
  5. Booze is not for bed time.
  6. Exercise during your day helps promote a healthy sleep cycle.

Water is one of the pillars to a healthy lifestyle and attaining quality sleep

Keep track of how much water you have in a day. There are products available that can assist you by pairing with your phone but to be quite honest, you can have a large water bottle, draw a couple lines on the outside, drink to a certain line and hold yourself accountable.

Water intake needed for a day is typically about 2L, it is generally based on your weight, height, activity level and how hot it is outside. It’s good to start your day off with a big glass of water, because if you think about it, you just spent (hopefully) 8 hours sleeping. Imagine how thirsty you are if you don’t drink anything for 8 hours. So water, then coffee.

Here are a few of my favorite “hacks” to stay hydrated

  1. Right now I am using a Hydrate Spark water bottle, which tells me how much water I need throughout the day via Bluetooth, I like it, but you can drink water many simpler ways.
  2. Drink 500 ml of water right when you wake up, then another between breakfast and lunch, then another with lunch, then another before supper, and another with supper. Whether that means having a 500 ml bottle of water, measurements on a 2L bottle, or using a glass that you know the volume of. This is a pretty attainable guideline.
  3. Flavor your water to make it more “fun”. We’re talking life and death here. Your body is 70% water. So you aren’t you without water. You need to take the act of hydration seriously. My favourite is Mio Sport. I like the electrolytes because I am a sweaty dude and that is how I replenish my body’s sodium requirements.
  4. Consider all the natural options you can for your water. Adding raspberries or blueberries quickly flavors your water. Add lemon to your water as a natural energizer.
  5. Play literally ANY drinking game. With water. BOOM, DONE!

Being hydrated is going to help your sleep game substantially.

I hope these tips helped you. Remember, if your goals are weight loss and/or muscle gain, you will struggle with those things if you are not getting enough sleep. Make it a priority. Thanks for reading!

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