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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Ustrzycki

Improve your Sleep Routine = Improve your Fat Loss (plus 10 tips!)

Aside from nutrition and training, in my honest opinion one of the other top factors impacting body recomposition is sleep.

Sleep helps with weight management/changes, training performance and recovery, mood, energy, mental clarity, focus and happiness. It’s one of the first things to get tossed though, but one of the seemingly easiest things we can improve.

I bet if we were all given another 2 hours to our days, how many of us would opt for 2 hours more sleep? My hand is up!

Sleep and Weight Loss

Sleep plays a huge role in weight management, including fat loss and muscle growth potential. Many studies link getting less than 7hours of sleep with a higher body fat percentage. That’s not always the case (not an absolute) but usually, yes.

Lacking enough sleep can impact your entire day, makes the decision-making process a lot harder, causes habits to slip, increases cravings, and decreases our NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) – how much we move naturally throughout the day. It can hits your hormones too:

  • increases cortisol (stress) triggering our body to conserve energy (hold onto weight, usually fat)

  • increases ghrelin (appetite) triggering us to make less quality nutrition choices than usual and increase likelihood of extra snacking or veering from our plan (if we have one)

  • decreases leptin (satiety) triggering us to over-eat, more so based on emotions and feelings rather than actually having a need to consume more calories

Easy—but dirty—math:

less sleep

+ stress - satiety

+ appetite

= poor weight management

How Does Sleep Impact Mood?

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation—even one night of restlessness that decreases sleep quantity to 4-5 hours— has a direct impact on your mood. I’m sure you can see that from your own experience, but the research validates your moodiness! Lack of sleep has a direct impact on mood-regulating hormones like cortisol, dopamine, and serotonin.

And when we’re a bit crabby/cranky from a poor night (or few) of sleep, we know it’s tougher to engage in healthy habits like good food choices and exercise.

Sleep, Energy, Performance & Recovery

Exhaustion is one of the first things we feel with lack of sleep and it impacts how we feel in may ways (beyond just tired.) Lack of energy has a direct impact on the way you perform in the gym and your ability to push through a workout.

In terms of recovery, sleep is extremely important to the release of natural Growth Hormone (GH), which helps your body with proper recovery from daily stress and exercise.

10 tips to support a better sleep routine

Opt for a few of these first, take time to measure the data and see if they work for you.

1. Unwind early. Listen to some relaxing music, sit on the balcony, engage in conversations with the family, and avoid bringing work into the home.

Coach Courtney’s tip: set a boundary (time) to close your work for the day

2. Put on pj's or comfortable clothes when you get home (or at a certain time). This can help you relax and get into your chill mode.

3. Set a non-negotiable bedtime. Train yourself to build the habit. Adjust as needed. Establish the amount of sleep you feel is ideal and realistic for your lifestyle and schedule.

Coach Courtney’s tip: when you can attach an important reason why you are setting this habit and you use an accountability tool (like telling your coach about it!) you’re much more likely to stick to it.

4. Set your surroundings. Ensure your room is pitch black with black-out curtains and no distracting lights or noises. A ceiling fan can help drown out uncontrollable noise.

Coach Courtney’s tip: wear earplugs and an eye mask to block out any unwanted noise or light.

5. Keep your bedroom for sleeping. Ok, and adult time… ;) Doing work or watching TV while in bed can subconsciously train you to not chill out when you get into bed.

6. Pre plan for the next AM. Set out clothes for the AM so you can save time and use that for sleep. I don’t know about you, but waking up NOT in panic mode, is heckin’ nice.

7. Stop checking your phone when you wake up in the middle of the night. When a client tells me they cannot fall back asleep at 2am, I always find out they wake up and check their phones. There’s nothing on there that’s that important, that will actually help you fall back asleep, or will chill your brain out. Might as well start drinking coffee at 2am. Quit doing it. Turn it off, use airplane mode or get it out of the bedroom (use an alarm clock instead).

8. Brain dump. Anything on your mind like feelings from the day, things that need to get done, or traditional journalling, all of this is a great thing to do at the end of the day. Get these thoughts and tasks off your mind to encourage better sleep.

9. Digest to rest. Give yourself more time if needed between your last meal and your bed time. Too heavy of a meal might not digest entirely making it harder to sleep.

Coach Courtney’s thoughts: I think this is where part of the “carbs after dark” taboo BS stemmed from; eating too heavy of a meal without enough digestion time can make you feel like garbage when you sleep and when you wake up. But generally speaking, no, carbs ‘after dark’ don’t make you fat.

10. Stretch and breathe. A simple stretch session or series of box breathing can calm your mind and body, encouraging a better set up for sleep success.

Although this can all seem so simple, we know implementing new (or updating!) habits isn’t necessarily easy. If you’re tired of spinning your wheels and trying to figure this out on your own, I encourage you to connect with our team > Let us meet you where you are, regardless of your lifestyle, and develop systems that truly work for your goals and sustainable success.

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