I hope this finds you better than ever.
I started to write this focus on sleep email last week (I even got the facebook post related up), then ended up coming down with the worst fever I have had in a long time, and promptly wrote the whole week off (thank you, Carribbean mosquitos).
When it comes to FAT LOSS, there are three things that I rate as super important yet the frequent lack of drives me nuts....
1. Sleep, insufficient quantity and quality
2. People drinking (largely dairy based) liquid meals post workout (or any other time)
3. Insufficient consumption of calories (yes I said insufficient!)
This email covers the sleep part.
If you are stuck on a plateu with ANY body composition goal, then sleep, stress, and cortisol (they are all related) are likely to be your biggest impediments to success. Remove those impediments, and voila!
Biggest issues of getting insufficient sleep...
* sleep deprivation dramatically impacts insulin sensitivity
* sleep deprivation dramatically alters cortisol levels
* sleep deprivation limits our ability to utilize growth hormone efficiently for fat loss
* insulin resistance causes us to store fat around the middle and we have issues using fat for fuel
* high cortisol levels cause us to store fat around the middle
* high cortisol levels results in elevated blood glucose
In other words, if fat loss is your goal and you are NOT sleeping well.... if you are chronically insulin resistant and have elevated blood glucose levels from cortisol from lack of sleep.... then your insides are very similar to what they would be if you were eating a high carb diet.
Worse, if you don't get enough sleep your ability to burn fat is effectively castrated by the negative impact poor sleep has on your hormones. Pretty much ALL of them.
You will also feel horrible, have limited sex drive, more likely die of cancer (it is proven), and look old before your time, but I digress.
How about some good news?
If you DO get plenty of quality sleep, here is what you can expect
- improved cortisol levels in the body
- improved utilization of growth hormone for fat loss
- more energy
- a longer life
- you will look younger
- you will feel freaken awesome
- any health or fitness goal will begin to happen a lot more easily
- you will be happier, I GUARANTEE it.
So.... this week, how about a focus on SLEEP quality AND quantity? Want to get leaner, stronger, healthier? You will thank me for it.
Here are some basic tips to get your started:
1. Use black out curtains and sleep in a pitch black room
2. Stop looking at back-lit screens at LEAST two hours prior to going to sleep. That is NO tv, NO computer, NO ipad, NO smart phone. Instead read, walk, listen, or talk... to someone.
3. Whatever caffeine you consumed on average per day last week, this week.... halve it
4. Try and stop caffeine consumption within 4-5 hours of waking up, for most people, a simple rule of thumb is stop by midday. whatever you time you set, STICK to eat each day
5. Try and go to bed at the same time each night this week
6. Don't stuff yourself with a big meal inside 2 hours of sleeping, this has been shown to cause sleep disturbances and mess with growth hormone release during sleep
7. By the same taken, avoid alcohol, it not totally at least two hours prior to bed
8. And the best one: try and wake up WITHOUT an alarm, every chance you can. if this means you have to go to bed earlier.... then what is your body telling you???
- consider taking a magnesium citrate supplement (400mg to 1600mg) 1 hour prior to bed
- consider valerian tea, chamomile tea
- consider playing with melatonin if you have real issues, but start with low low doses under 1mg
- try bikram yoga in the evening, then don't look at your phone, tv, or computer afterwards until sleep time
- an ice bath in the evening (seriously)
- a long japanese style, deep, hot bath (ofuro) with 1kg of epsom salts (watch hydration)
- one day, take the entire evening off, read or talk to someone, then get a long deep tissue massage in, then pass out
I go for a rhythm where I try and shut down my brain by not thinking about work, reading work or thinking-related material (or looking at my computer) at least two hours prior to bed. Then for at least the last 15-30 minutes before bed, I read fiction, in relatively low light conditions (just enough soft light that your eyes don't strain).
This is second only to making love to your significant other as the ultimate good nights sleep night cap. Take thsoe endorphins and pass out with a smile on your face. Kiwi Two Cents.
Feel free to jump in on our facebook page with your own tips, tricks, and suggestions.
"100% Focus on Happiness"
That is my mantra, and it starts with phenomenal health - now go get your sleep!
Chris "the Kiwi" Ashenden www.AthleticGreens.com