Understanding some of the many underlying factors that influence our behavior can help sway in our favor the generally low odds of achieving our New Year's resolutions. Notably, proper relaxation and sound sleep are powerful components to your physical and mental health. Now that we are a several weeks into the New Year, this 4-part series is designed around the 4 most popular New Year’s resolutions to empower you with knowledge and actionable tips to help you keep the vows you’ve made for 2014.
Part 2: Fitness and Weight Loss Resolutions
The correlation between your weight and your sleeping habits is a widely discussed topic. While the relationship is complex, and not precisely understood, ongoing research continues to reveal the integral role that sleep plays in shaping your physique and your diet. If you have pledged to trim the fat and/or embarked on a new nutritional regimen in 2014, simply focusing on your sleep could increase your likelihood of success. Here are some specific changes you can make to nighttime routine and a peak into the sleep science behind it all.
I resolve to... shed extra pounds
Take action by... integrating a soothing yoga practice into your evening routine. Not only does this benefit your emotional and physical fitness but it helps relax your body and mind so you nod off more easily
The underlying sleep science:
If you’re like most Americans, “exercise more” is likely at the top of your list of resolutions for this year. Indeed consistent physical activity is linked with healthier BMI and is also shown to support better sleeping habits over time. What is important to understand, though, is that the quality of your sleep is reported to directly impact the amount you exercise. If you currently suffer from interrupted or sleepless nights, a regular workout routine can be helpful in the long run. However, you surely will not get your money’s worth out of that gym membership if you aren’t sleeping well.
I resolve to... nourish my body with healthy foods
Take action by... committing to sleep 7–9 hours each night to help support fat burning, lean muscle development and avoid waking unnecessarily hungry. Eating your last meal at least several hours before bedtime and avoiding caffeine and alcohol are dietary best practices that can also help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The underlying sleep science:
In addition to staying active, eating is regarded as the other half of the weight management equation. To boil it down to the basics: energy intake (calories in) must be less than or equal to energy expenditure (calories out). But keeping fit and trim requires more than basic arithmetic. Sleep influences your appetite and metabolic processes, making it a critical variable in your diet solution. A multitude of studies have linked skimpy sleep to flabbier figures by revealing how an insufficient amount of rejuvenating rest leads to greater calorie consumption, the tendency to eat later in the evening, and even loss of lean body mass (instead of fat)! These side effects are explained by levels of hunger-inducing hormones like ghrelin and biochemical compounds involved in your body’s energy production process that are all influenced by sleep.
Stay tuned for the next set of tips on How to Conquer the 4 Most Popular New Year's Resolutions; part 3 will connect you to key insights into your relationships!