How Getting More Sleep Can Help You Lose Fat And Run Faster!
With so many diets and supplements on the market, can good sleep really be one of the best running performance and fat loss aids around? We promise it’s true…
Sleep Helps You Recover From Running
Getting good quality sleep is really important for runners, whether you’re training for an ultra marathon or heading out for a short jog every week. Running (like any exercise) is seen by the body as a stress, and the body will always try to adapt to this stress. Sleep is when that adaptation – or recovery – occurs best! Guess what happens if you don’t get enough sleep? Your recovery suffers, and so does your next training run.
Sleep Helps Your Healthy Hormones
There’s much more to your hormones than just oestrogen and testosterone. Hormones control everything in your body, including hunger, fat loss, mood and energy. When we sleep, growth hormone secretion is at its highest. Why is this important for runners? Growth hormone is responsible for the regeneration of cells – crucial for hard working runners’ bodies!
Sleep Helps You Control Hunger
Two key hormones for body fat and weight control are leptin and ghrelin. We like leptin! It decreases hunger, makes you more able to stop eating when satisfied, and makes you less likely to overeat out of tiredness and emotion. Ghrelin on the other hand plays with your hunger cues and actually makes you more hungry. And guess what? Lack of sleep is directly linked to more ghrelin and less leptin. Sleep more, get your hunger cues under control, and get a handle on your eating habits.
Sleep Helps You Feel Great Next Time You Run
This one’s obvious: when you get a good night’s sleep, you feel happier, more energetic and stronger. As a result, your next training run will be better. Put simply, good quality sleep on a consistent basis translates to better running performance.
Sleep Is Free!
Better than any diet aid, supplement or product, sleep is completely free. In fact, it might even save you money. After all, when you’re asleep, you’re not buying things online, eating that extra snack or pouring a glass of wine…
Here are 5 ways the R4W team get better quality sleep:
1. Eat healthy, unprocessed foods and don’t eat too close to bedtime (leave at least 90 minutes even if the last thing you have is a snack) Your body needs to concentrate on sleeping, not on digesting food.
2. Assess your tolerance to caffeine. Many of us are over-reliant on caffeine (tea, coffee, green tea, hot chocolate all count) – the Running4Women office is no different! Try reducing or cutting out caffeine for a week and see if it improves how you fall asleep and stay asleep.
3. Don’t take phones or tablet computers into the bedroom. The electronic light keeps your brain awake when it should be winding down (and you stay up longer because you’re Facebooking!)
4. Keep your bedroom as dark and as cool as possible, minimising light from clocks and electronic items. Try sleeping with the window slightly ajar.
5. It’s not just the quality of sleep which counts for runners but the consistency. Your body loves routine, so get into the good habit of going to bed at the same time every night (before 11pm is great!).