We’re on day two of our 21 Day Nutrition & Fitness Summer Challenge. Today we’re talking about something that is often neglected in relation to nutrition and weight loss. It’s a common problem many people face — you’re working out, eating better but still not getting the results.
Sleep. It’s critical.
We all want to be healthy. We work hard in the gym and we pay attention to our food but how often do we jeopardize our sleep? Here are four reasons you should sleep more as a CrossFitter:
Research indicates that people who get less sleep—six or fewer hours a night—have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more. Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. If we think about it even further, we ask a lot of our bodies in the gym, causing inflammation through movement; if we aren’t sleeping, we aren’t recovering.
2. Losing Weight
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat—56% of their weight loss—than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass. (They shed similar amounts of total weight regardless of sleep.)
Dieters in the study also felt more hungry when they got less sleep. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain; when you are sleepy, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite. I’m definitely out of control, regarding my nutrition, when I haven’t slept well. It is very noticeable to me when I am tired; I will eat just about anything and constantly eat.
Let’s take a look at sleep from an athletic point of view. If you’re an athlete, there may be one simple way to improve your performance: sleep. I remember listening to a large majority of the Games athletes being interviewed and when they were asked what their secret was or what they changed in their routine, they said, “Sleep, I sleep more!”
3. Increased Performance
A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina. The results of this study reflect previous findings seen in tennis players and swimmers. Definitely a benefit someone who does CrossFit should be interested in.
Testosterone levels and growth hormone levels elevate during sleep. This is part of the bodies physical repair system. These hormones assist in recovery and strength & fitness gains. These hormones release after being asleep for about 30 minutes. The hormone levels elevate every time you go thru a certain phase of your sleep cycle. The longer you sleep, the more cycles you go thru, the more of these recovery promoting hormones pumping thru your body. Even getting a 30+minute nap is a big bonus because now, instead of getting this hormone advantage one time a day, a nap makes it twice in a day!
Today and the rest of the week record the amount of hours you’re sleeping and aim for 8! It’s not always easy, but it’ll be worth it.