Not only is lack of sleep bad for your health, it will also make it exponentially harder for you to keep fit. As revealed in ‘Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Performance: A Meta-Analysis’, “overall sleep deprivation strongly impairs human functioning.” In other words, when you regularly get inadequate sleep, you will have a hard time doing all the necessary things—like working out or choosing the right food to eat—to stay fit and healthy.
Sleep is so important to the pursuit of fitness that we included it in our Six Essential Fitness Tips That Will Let You Get the Most Out of Yourself under the rest and recovery tip. “Sleep is a big part of recovery,” we wrote, before recommending that you “get at least 8 hours of it every day.”
The importance of sleep is shared by Jim White, a renowned fitness guru and gym owner who is currently the national spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and an advisor for Men’s Fitness. White spoke with Leesa about the importance of sleep for athletes and stated, “You can’t get truly to a high level of fitness without enough sleep.” Like our recommendation, White aims to get a minimum of 8 hours every night.
But what does this all mean for the millions of insomniacs here in the U.S. and all around the world? Does this mean that they will be unable to attain a high level of fitness as White claimed? Insomniacs need not be resigned to such a possibility. If you are afflicted with insomnia, you can always do something to combat this sleeping disorder, and one effective way is to be fit and healthy. So with that in mind, we have provided four examples of how keeping fit can combat insomnia.
Exercise Helps You Shut Down
Exercise is a big part of keeping fit, and it can also help you doze off faster. Plus, it improves the quality of your sleep, too. Why? Because exercise is a so-called beneficial stressor. It stresses the body, and the brain compensates for this stress by telling your body to shut down. This increases the amount of time you spend in deep sleep. Additionally, exercise causes a spike in your body temperature, and its eventual drop will then make it easier for you to not only fall asleep but to stay asleep as well.
Working the Mind
Staying fit and healthy means keeping the mind sharp too, and you can do this by keeping it engaged as much as possible. In turn, Health Central states that an active mind helps combat insomnia because a dynamic mind needs to rest.
Avoiding Things That Interfere with Sleep
By staying fit, you have made a conscious decision to live a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, you will be more than willing to avoid anything that will interfere with your sleep since you know that sleep is important in your pursuit of a healthier, fitter you. Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler recommends limiting your caffeine intake, alcohol, and preferably not drinking either in the hours before you sleep as they can worsen insomnia and adversely affect the quality of your sleep.
Establishing and Following Routines
To improve your health through exercise it is important to follow a routine. This also applies to your everyday habits and establishing a bedtime routine is a surefire way to prepare your body for sleep. Here on Fitness Step 1 we have recommended four essential oils that help you sleep better and keep a good routine.