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  • Writer's pictureThe BARbell

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Fitness Goals: What You Need To Know

In a recent poll we conducted on Instagram, we found that only 27% of those who responded are getting the recommended 7-9 hour of sleep. The same percentage are getting 4-5 hours, and some reported that they selected 4-5 because we didn’t offer a response of less than 4 hours.

It's no secret that sleep deprivation can have a crippling effect on many aspects of your life. From making you less productive, to affecting how well you focus and perform your daily activities, sleep deprivation is a serious issue. But, what many people don't know is that sleep deprivation may be sabotaging their weight-loss efforts.

Studies show that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to be fully recharged. When sleep deprived, your body releases a hormone called cortisol that makes you crave high-carb, sugary foods in order to feel energized again. This means that sleep deprivation can cause an increase in fat storage, and also lead to poor eating habits, like snacking on junk food throughout the day instead of eating healthy meals.

Sleep deprivation also affects the body's ability to release fat. A study by the University of Chicago Medical Center found that those who were dieting to lose weight lost the same amount of weight regardless of how much sleep they got. However, when dieters got a full night's sleep, more than half of the weight they lost was fat. When their sleep was restricted, only one-fourth of their weight loss was fat. They also felt hungrier, and were more likely to make impulsive food choices.

The lack of energy one experiences after reduced sleep can make it difficult to get through your workouts. A study by the University of Georgia found that sleep deprivation negatively affected muscle strength and endurance. The participants also experienced a six percent reduction in speed and efficiency after sleeping less than seven hours per night for just two weeks.

Do you find yourself routinely craving “instant gratification” food, unable to put the effort you’d like into your workouts, or just going through the motions every day due to fatigue? You’re not alone. It’s time to make sleep a priority, and add it to your arsenal of self-care activities to improve your mental health and ability to function.

Suggestions for improving your ability to fall asleep include:

• Sleep in a cool, dark room.

• Make sure to turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before sleep so you can wind down and relax.

• Sit less, move more.

• Try to eat dinner 2-3 hours before going to bed. If that's not possible, eat a smaller meal.

• Develop a bedtime routine that will help you relax, and signal your body that it is time to go to sleep. Also, moving to your bedroom to begin your routine will remove the opportunity to snack out of boredom, loneliness, or habit.

Do you have any tips for getting more sleep? Share them in the comments below!

Go be awesome!

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