We all know how important it is to incorporate a regular fitness regimen and a healthy diet in our lives, but many of us neglect something just as important. Yes, sleep!
Sleep, rest or recovery are critical to maintaining a healthy body and mind. In fact, your level of fitness and the quality of your nutrition can impact your sleep just as much as sleep impacts both of them.
This synergy effect between sleep, exercise, and nutrition is important to keep in mind. To get the best and most productive results from all of the above, it’s important not to neglect any of them.
Let’s take a look at how your fitness and nutrition can impact your sleep and productivity.
When we exercise regularly, we also tend to get more quality sleep. One of the main reasons why is because exercise reduces stress levels and tires us out. Exercise can decrease anxiety, depressive symptoms, and arousal, all of which are factors that help us wind down.
Exercise during the early morning or afternoon hours is a great way to reset your sleep-wake cycle and strengthen your circadian rhythm. Contrary to popular belief, exercising later in the day or close to bedtime won’t necessarily keep you up. It really comes down to the individual. For me, early morning exercise helps me sleep best. You might be different. Try both and see what works best for you.
Mike Behnken, MS, NASM-CPT from AskTheTrainer.com believes “Any exercise is better than no exercise, so if your schedule doesn’t permit an early morning exercise session, simply work out later in the day.” It seems most people benefit from an earlier session; however, it is ultimately up to you to find what works best for you.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that your level of fitness won’t dramatically impact your quality of sleep overnight. No pun intended. However, as this sleep study suggests, exercising subjects in the 16-week study got as much as 1.25 hours of extra sleep per night. Now that’s pretty darn significant.
The takeaway here is that your level of fitness can and will positively impact your sleep, but the key is being consistent and patient while your body adjusts to your new regular exercise routine. In time, you’ll begin to catch more ZZZ’s when you stick with regular and consistent exercise.
Here are 10 productivity hacks that can help you.
Alongside exercise, nutrition is also a major part of the “quality sleep” equation. Nutrition can’t be stressed enough when it comes to improving our sleep and increasing our productivity in all facets of life.
Because nutrition impacts our sleep quality and productivity in many ways, dialing-in our nutrition is critical. The foods we consume during the day directly interfere with our quality of sleep when it’s time to wind down.
For example, consuming low-quality foods including heavily processed ones, and those high in sugar and carbohydrates will impact our blood sugar levels which may keep us buzzed when it’s time to catch some zzz’s. Caffeine-infused products will also mess with our sleep cycles.
Try to avoid foods that give you energy all day when it’s getting close to bedtime. It’s best to consume these types of high-energy foods early in the day to take advantage of the critical morning boost they will give you.
Abs are not only made in the kitchen. When we sleep we also build muscle thanks to the magic of muscle recovery. Allowing our muscles to rest after exercise is when the process of muscle growth truly begins. When our body rests our muscles will repair themselves and grow as a result.
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