I can’t say it enough, it’s not just diet that matters if you want to lose weight – especially if you choose the diet rebalancing method. OF COURSE ultimately it’s the deficit between calories ingested and calories expended that causes weight loss, but your metabolism also responds to a host of other factors that can either encourage or hinder your weight loss. This is particularly the case with sleep. It is often said (and few people listen) that sleeping well is, along with diet and physical activity, a pillar of your overall health. It is also a major factor in your fitness & shape!
I’ll explain why right away, highlighting the risks of a lack of sleep .. and how to remedy them with simple tips!
Why is sleep important?
This is important because this is the time of day when your body is going to activate to fix and restore everything for the next day . I’m saying it a bit simply, but it involves: repairing the cardiovascular system, including the heart and arteries, creating and repairing tissue (especially muscle), regulating a whole bunch of hormones, in short, making sure that you are in great shape the next morning.
If we don’t get enough sleep, what’s it like?
1. All the body’s “protection” mechanisms slow down
That means a higher risk of heart attacks, but also more physical fatigue and a greater chance of injury. On a mental level, that means greater emotivity, longer reaction times and a much greater propensity to stress.
Well, it’s no secret that when you don’t get enough sleep, you are slow & grumpy. We’re not gonna lie to each other, I’m the same.
2. You create less muscles, and recover less quickly from your sessions
Since everything slows down, so does tissue creation: at the same training, you create less muscle mass, you have more body aches, and you take longer to recover from your workouts: enough to drastically slow down your gains!
3. Your hormones are disrupted = you eat more and store more fat
Insulin (which turns sugars into fat and stores them) has already been mentioned in the article on the Glycemic Index, but be aware that sleep plays a fundamental role in the use of the nutrients you ingest – especially sugars that your body converts into energy or store in the form of fat. The less you sleep, the more your body tends to store.
Also, sleep has a direct impact on Grhéline, the hormone responsible for appetite: you are more hungry than usual, so you eat more (sometimes without realizing it), and .. you still store more. There you go.
What is ‘enough’ sleep?
Everyone’s sleep needs are unique – but NO, even if you’re used to it, your body can’t just get 5 hours of sleep a night because you want to. A healthy rhythm is between 8 and 9 hours of sleep per night . Some may settle for 7 hours, but they are rare, and you will only be able to know what is right for you if you try for 1 month to get 8 or 9 hours of sleep.
Also, we must chain the cycles as much as possible and finish them, to get the most out of our hours of rest. (see that in the tips below!)
5 tips for better sleep:
1. We plan AT LEAST 8 or 9 hours to sleep, no less.
Because falling asleep instantly is quite rare, you should at least give yourself the opportunity to get enough sleep. Mathematically, you can’t expect to sleep 8+ hours if you go to bed at midnight and you wake up at 7am, you can’t.
2. We set ourselves a “quiet time” routine before sleeping
I know, I’m going to sound like a killjoy old man. BUT it has been proven that the blue light from screens (TV, phones, computers) has very negative effects on the body before sleeping: they disrupt the natural production of melatonin (see point 5.) and excite the brain – not the dream when you want to sleep with a restful sleep. We turn off the screens 1 hour before the scheduled time to fall asleep, and we take a book. It is good for the body and the head!
3. We try to find your “biological” wake-up time
If you sometimes wake up even more tired than the day before, it’s because your alarm time falls in the middle of one of your sleep cycles, and not at the end of your sleep. One. Two. As a result, you interrupt the recovery process.
How do I find the “natural” wake-up time? Either you delay your alarm by 10min (before or after, try both!) And you analyze your feelings, or you use a tracker (an app or a connected bracelet) which allows you to determine the best time for you. (The FitBit charge 2 in particular allows you to create an alarm on the most suitable wake-up time, I’ve been using it every day since I bought it!)
4. We play sports every day (and we avoid naps)
It makes sense, but sports (or physical activity in general) can increase physical fatigue, which makes it easier to fall asleep. However, you should avoid training less than 2 hours before bedtime (because the body goes on alert during sport, and it can take time to calm down).
5. If necessary, we take a course of Melatonin
Those who travel a lot between time zones are familiar with it, but melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep cycles. The brain produces it naturally, but if needed – or to reset after jet lag, you can take melatonin tablets for a few days. It helps ensure restful sleep, and it feels good.
Personally, I do a cure every 2 months or when I travel, and I have seen real improvement, so I share!