The Condition One Blog

Health and wellness info that makes sense for your life. Bookmark it now and come back later! We're constantly adding new stuff. 


All about sleep and your health

health and wellness Aug 01, 2022

 One thing my clients often don’t realize when we iron out a fitness plan that is best for them is the importance of sleep. So, while I will outline various exercises, fitness plans, and general health and nutrition advice, I also include a recommended amount of sleep they should be getting each night. While eating those high-protein meals, making a conscious effort to get enough sleep each night is just as crucial to achieving your goals.

What is sleep?

Okay, yes, we are all familiar with the concept of sleep, but not everyone is as aware of the breakdown of what sleep can do to help benefit our mind and body on our health journey. We often get caught up in trying to do one more thing or be just a little more productive before going to sleep (or waking up early to knock some things out). The thought may be that it would help us get one step closer to our goals when, in fact, it could be slowing the process and making weight loss and a healthy lifestyle a bit more complicated.

So what exactly is sleep? Sleep can be broken down into four stages: awake, light, deep, and REM sleep. As you sleep, your body goes through each cycle, ideally reaching deep sleep and your REM cycle at least a couple of times throughout the night, as this is where experts believe the most rejuvenation occurs.

How much sleep should I get per night?

The exact number of hours varies from one person to another, but the general range is from six to eight hours per night. This gives your body time to recover from your exercises and the strains of the day so you can start the next day fresh and energized. It’s like restarting a computer when it’s running slow. We all need a break to rest, especially on a journey to overall health.

How lack of sleep and weight loss are connected 

A significant amount of research has been done on the correlation between sleep and weight loss. Rest is like nutrition for your brain, according to WebMD, and this is an analogy that I think is spot on. The article linked explains that too little sleep triggers a cortisol spike, a stress hormone that signals your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours. What does that mean? It means your body is getting signals to hold onto fat to help fuel your fatigued waking hours.

To break that down a little further, lack of sleep can cause an imbalance of hormones responsible for regulating feelings of fullness and hunger. Your body may experience a decreased amount of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate hunger by telling your body when it is "full," and an increased amount of ghrelin, the hormone that provides hunger cues to tell your brain, "I'm hungry! Time to eat!" This means that increased ghrelin can lead to increased food intake.

Your body can experience a cortisol spike, which increases impulsivity and impairs decision-making and cognitive function, making it tough to resist that sweet treat you know is hiding in your kitchen.

How can I get better quality sleep?

I get this question a lot. How do I not only sleep more but also have a restful sleep? I have some suggestions that have worked for many of my clients and me. The first is to create a wind-down routine or "pre-sleep ritual" and follow it nightly. This will help signal your body that it’s time to slow down and decompress from the day. Some additional suggestions:

  • Dim the lights an hour or two before bed.
  • Sleep with earplugs or a sound machine if needed.
  • Take a hot shower or bath before bedtime. The purpose here is to help your body. naturally downregulate and prepare for deep, restful sleep instead of going from being overstimulated in front of the tv to jumping right into bed.
  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, including on weekends (I know, I know!). 

Consistent bedtimes are crucial to your nighttime routine to ensure a restful sleep. This routine will help condition your body to sleep and waking hours, so it knows what it needs to do and when.

How to improve your sleep environment

Some tips to improve your sleep environment include making the bedroom as cold as possible and as dark as possible. Use tools like blackout curtains, and remove any night light or extra ambient light. You can also declutter the bedroom so that it is a pleasant, relaxing environment instead of being a space that stresses you out or makes you feel like you need to clean each time you walk in. 

What to avoid before bedtime 

Avoid screens before bedtime first and foremost including stimulating electronics like the tv, smartphones, etc., within an hour of bed. Pro tip: leave your phone in the kitchen if you are tempted to do one more scroll before bed. You’ll also want to avoid food within two hours of going to bed and caffeine within 8 to 10 hours of going to sleep. Digestion is an active process that can take up to 36 hours. If you eat just before bed, your body begins digestion, which can create sleep disruptions and make it more difficult to reach deeper stages of sleep. The average "half-life" of caffeine is 6 hours, meaning that 6 hours after you consume caffeine, 50% of the caffeine is still active in your body, which will impact how easily you go to sleep and how soundly you sleep through the night.

Is quality sleep important for weight loss? 

Of course. Getting more and better quality sleep is essential to successful weight loss. Better sleep, paired with a consistent exercise program plus nutrition and lifestyle adjustments, can be a great formula to help you attain great, sustainable results.

If you are struggling with weight loss or your weight loss has stalled, ask yourself, are you prioritizing your sleep, or is it an afterthought? Chances are, a few minor adjustments to your sleep can help get you back on track to achieving your weight loss and overall health goals.

If you’re interested in taking the next steps on your own health journey, book a discovery call with me today. I offer consults worldwide

Want helpful tips to live your best life?

Health, Wellness, Nutrition and Fitness info that's *actually* useful and you'll actually want to read! Unsubscribe anytime. No hard feelings.

You're safe with me. I'll never spam you or sell your contact info.