If you’re not getting enough sleep, the chances are that you’re not performing at your best mentally and physically.
Have you ever listened to a nutritionist, sports or otherwise give advice on performance and causes of weight gain? The chances are that the word ‘sleep’ was mentioned in the opening ceremony. Sleep deficiency is a known contributor to weight gain. This is because sleep helps to maintain a healthy balance of hormones that make you feel hungry ‘ghrelin’ or full ‘leptin’. When you don’t sleep well, the level of ‘feel hungry’ hormones increases and ‘feel full’ hormones decreases. If this wasn’t enough, lack of sleep also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods!
Lack of sleep contributes to low blood glucose and water retention. When the body gets stressed resulting from sleep deprivation, it responds by releasing insulin and cortisol hormones, which increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system and aid in the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrate. Artificially high levels of these hormones also lead to water retention.
Athletes consider good quality sleep vital to their training and performance. The recommended level of sleep is from 7 to 9 hours. For athletes it’s 9 hours. This is because deep sleep supports the human growth hormone that boosts muscle mass, helps repair cells and tissues; and strengthen bones.
Actually getting good quality sleep is often a difficulty for a lot of people. However, Magnesium and Zinc are known to help. Magnesium has a calming effect and contributes to muscle relaxation while zinc may improve mood! Research indicates that a magnesium supplement such as magnesium glycinate taken along with zinc before sleep resulted in a 45% improvement in sleep quality (see reference below).
If you are not already focusing on your sleep, why not start to and see if you notice a difference? We would love to know how you get on!