If you have been having too many late nights lately, then I’ve got bad news for you—it’s going to make you FAT. Yes, that’s right. Sleeping is often the most overlooked aspect of keeping fit, and I’m not exaggerating when I say, the poorer the quality of your sleep, the bigger the size of your pants. To drop body fat, you need to kick in your body’s recovery processes. And recovery happens at night, when you sleep.
When you compromise upon recovery, your hormones, enzymes and in fact, even your cardio-respiratory systems are upset. So invariably you need to wake up with a stimulant, like tea or coffee, won’t feel like eating anything until noon or beyond, and discover by late evening that you have a sweet tooth. If you have been going through this pattern, you are likely to have piled on the kilos, and it’s not exercise but proper sleep that will come to your rescue. No, don’t read between the lines—I am not saying you don’t need exercise, I am saying your need to sleep is even bigger at the moment than your need to exercise. What you also need to understand is exercising on a sleep-deprived and tired body is a sheer waste of energy and time. It won’t lead to fat loss but will surely lead to injuries.
Here are four steps that will help you improve quality of sleep:
- Fix a regular bedtime, aim to sleep and wake at the same time most days
- Get the TV out of the bedroom, or at least turn it off an hour before bedtime
- Don’t allow your alarm to get into snooze mode. Either wake up when it rings or take a break from your routine, and carry on sleeping.
- Eat as soon as you wake up. Plan your breakfast the night before, making sure everything you need in the morning is in place.
Sleep your way to fitness.
(A fortnightly column on nutrition and fitness by the best-selling author of Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight)