Having trouble getting fitter? Lack of sleep might be to blame.

Sleeping well is one of the most critical things you can do to improve your life.  If you don't sleep well, you will be less effective at everything you do while you’re awake.  Not only does a lack of sleep drag on your performance, it also takes a toll on your mental discipline.

 

A student asleep at her desk

Sleep deprivation can stifle weight loss.

The chances are you lead a busy urban life.  You have a well-paying, very demanding job but still manage to fit in two or three solid workouts a week.  And yet you don't see your physique changing in any meaningful way. Why?

A possible reason that almost never goes checked is lack of sleep. Sleep helps maintain a balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don't get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. So when you're running low on sleep you naturally feel hungrier.

Ever had a morning at work when you loaded up on a breakfast burrito with bacon and sausage? The chances are you had little sleep the night before.  When you're sleepy, you're also hungry, and you eat more than you have to.  Very simple. If you sleep well, not only will you feel more energetic, but you will also feel less hungry.

 

Here are some simple ways for you to sleep better:

  1. Stop checking your phone or tablet for a 30 minutes before bedtime. Even if you have a very demanding work, the chances are that you really don't need to be checking emails that often.
  2. Do not consume alcohol or caffeine after 9pm (we understand social drinking with friends is a big part of life's pleasure, but do so in moderation).
  3. Keep your sleeping area cool and dark. Higher ambient temperature inhibits sleep.