4:40 PM EST, December 7, 2012
Of all of the contributors to fat loss, proper sleep could be the biggest.
While you're sleeping, your body undergoes an amazing series of processes. Sleep is a time when your body repairs damaged tissue and tries to return your cells back to "normal."
However, sleeping not only helps repair and stimulate growth of muscle tissue, it can also stimulate release of a hormone called leptin, which communicates with your brain about the state of your fat cells.
Sleeping less might decrease circulating levels of leptin. This causes your body to think you're hungry, even though you aren't. Plus, a lack of quality sleep raises cortisol levels that can contribute to weight gain, further throwing your hormones out of whack. Maintaining solid sleep habits could stimulate weight loss and give you an added advantage over your stubborn fat cells
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that working adults get six hours or fewer of sleep a night.
And a recent study by Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory and Maples Pavilion, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., showed that subjects who got eight to 10 hours of sleep per night performed better, got higher scores on tests and had more energy than their less rested counterparts.
I know it can seem impossible to get the eight to 10 hours needed for optimum performance, but here are four powerful tips to help you get a better nights sleep:
1. Maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule: Simply go to bed and wake up at the same time consistently most days of the week.
2. Stop watching TV in bed. Use your bedroom for sleep and intimacy only. TV, work materials and laptops don't belong in bed, and make it hard for the brain to shut down.
3. Buy a better mattress: Get rid of that mattress you've had since high school, and buy a good one, ya cheapskate. What's your body worth? A worn mattress can wreck sleep quality.
4. Take a vitamin/mineral supplement: People who take a quality vitamin/mineral formula report better quality of sleep and more energy upon waking.
These four tips can really improve the amount and quality of your sleep, allowing your body to free up more unwanted body fat without adding one minute more of exercise. More importantly, you'll improve virtually every body function after only a week of better sleeping habits. Knock yourself out!
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to www.hometeamfitness.net for more information.
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