The endocrine system is a multitude of different hormones that play their part in making the body work; hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone, insulin and cortisol are all regulated through different pathways to ensure they are working both effectively and efficiently. In this particular article, I am going to discuss how sleep has huge effects on our bodies both externally and internally.
I personally work long hours from early morning until night and then spending spare time writing programmes, articles and nutritional protocols as well as building my business with client relationships, events and so on. Cry me a river! Many people reading this will be working even longer hours, family and friends will be often working until 2-3am then waking up at 6 am with children doing the school run and then repeating the gruelling process. The common denominator with all of these different subjects is that a total lack of sleep, rest and recuperation.
We live in a day and age where we are constantly wired from caffeine, we are always being tested both mentally and physically and we live in a society that is punishing if you fall short of expectations. Somebody will always be there to take what is yours off you if you mess up. Therefore we must make sure we set expectations early doors, we aren’t always a ‘yes-man’, sometimes it’s important to say no and that in doing so will actually enable you to focus on more important tasks. Secondly, we must make sure we have enough time to relax and be able to reduce the stress and pressure of everyday life. Finally, getting ample sleep is massively important in ensuring you are waking up the following day prepared and focused on the improvement of both yourself and your business.
As well as the improvement of your day to day efficiency, sleep is key to your health and fitness. When looking to regulate cortisol, sleep and rest are massively important. Cortisol is aligned with insulin, the hormone that regulates the blood sugar levels in the body. When cortisol is out of the usual range and is spiked too high, insulin responds. This response is usually making the body crave sugar. Often you have had a very bad night’s sleep you can find that you are craving sugar the day after. This is the same situation as what I am explaining here. Therefore, when we are looking to lose fat and get lean, it is vitally important to obtain enough sleep to maintain healthy cortisol and insulin levels.
My 3 Tips Improve Sleep
#1 Reduce total training load if it’s ridiculously high. Often I see people training every day, sleeping badly and having no rest; they don’t lose any fat and often find that they put weight on. I have recently taken on a client who has trained for 25 years, done cardio and weights every day but runs a multi-million-pound company that consumes him. Therefore, I reduced his training load from 7 days to 4-5 days, cut out his steady state cardio and reduced intensity of training. This meant he was less stressed, craved less sugary food and lost nearly 3% body fat (callipers) in his first month of training. No special treatment or genius work on my part, it was simply working with his body and making sure that the programme was set up for him and him only.
#2 Supplement with Magnesium, 5-HTP and Vitamin C prior to bed to ensure you reducing cortisol prior to going to bed.
#3 Reduce total caffeine intake to ensure you are not mentally stimulated before going to bed. We have been shown that coffee and green tea can be healthy, however, in these cases of being constantly wired and struggling to sleep reducing these nutrients is important.