Sleep Your Way to a Better Body

16 Jan

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about motivation and about what it takes to get in shape. I’ve read articles, talked with experts, conducted research, tried out tricks of the trade, and have found some common themes. I find great value in all the tips I read and as such, I try to implement many of them myself. However, I keep feeling like something is missing. I just put down an article, one of those “do it now” articles on getting fit. I’ve read several lately, and to be honest, I’ve slacked a bit this week. I’m partially blaming this on the fact that I am running a half marathon this weekend. However, to be honest, I just haven’t had made the time, and haven’t felt motivated to do it. Why is this? The why for me is actually pretty simple. I’m too tired!

The reality is that if you are not rested, nothing goes as planned. Your body simply lacks the ability to push yourself. With this in mind, I’ve decided from now on when people talk to me about their fitness goals, one of the first things I am going to ask is whether they are rested? In many ways, this is more important than what you eat or how and when you exercise. Why? Because good sleep lays the foundation for those items.

Sleep dictates nearly everything in our lives. First, it affects the nutritional choices we make. Lack of sleep makes us more likely to reach for foods high in fat and carbohydrates. It also promotes hunger. I think we have all experienced that at some point. Second, it prevents us from exercising because we do not have the energy to do so. Third, insufficient sleep affects mood, and can prompt depression. Depression can be a barrier to exercise. Thus; when we experience this we are less apt to move our body enough to get physically fit.

I had my own personal experience with lack of sleep recently. I am pretty disciplined, and despite being tired, managed to make it to the gym. Unfortunately during yoga I must have dozed off and ended up in child’s pose for five minutes. I did catch up on a few zzz’s in yoga, but I certainly didn’t get a good work-out. The bottom line… get some rest. Make whatever accommodations you need in your life to insure that you get quality sleep. Here’s some suggestions to help.

  • Set a firm bed time and stick to it
  • Aim to get the same number of hours of sleep each night
  • Shut off electronics an hour before bed
  • Invest in a quality pillow and mattress
  • Keep your room dark at night
  • Consider meditating before bed
  • Eliminate caffeine from your diet, or at least limit it to morning consumption
  • Incorporate quick naps, no more than 15 minutes a day to refresh yourself

If you get your rest, then your fitness goals will fall into place more easily. You’ll find you are more energetic, have improved exercise patterns, and that your mood will likely be elevated.

Now… if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a nap!

For additional information about getting quality sleep, visit one of my favorite websites at


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