When most people think about getting fit, it is common for them to focus on what they should eat and how much exercise is required. However, let me share a third component that is often overlooked and can be a game-changer in the quest to lose weight. It is about the degree of Zzz you get – yep I mean sleep. The lack of it can wreak havoc on your health as well as your physical fitness plans.

Below are a few reasons why getting adequate rest is crucial for getting to your wellness goals.

1) A lack of sleep contributes to a rise in cortisol levels, this is the hormone that response to the fight or flight issue when under tremendous stress. In those types of situations, the reaction of cortisol is appropriate, but when the level of cortisol is continually at a high level, it can result in belly fat as well as hormonal-related illnesses such as diabetes.

2) A sleep-deprived individual does not have the luxury of receiving hGH, a component of the endocrine gland that helps repair the muscles and aid in decreasing soreness from working out.

3) Less than 7 hours of sleep affects the immune system, leaving a person open to numerous infections. When an individual gets rest, proteins are release that fight viruses, colds and flu, these are diminished in people who keep late hours.

4) Studies show people who get the proper amount of sleep lives longer because their bodies are less vulnerable to diseases resulting from deprivation including obesity, heart disease, high hypertension as well as some cancers.

5) Binge eating and cravings are associated with lack of proper rest. Studies have shown there is a direct link between craving fatty and sugary foods and sleep issues. When a person lacks sleep, an area in the brain, releases a compound in large amounts with the addictiveness of morphine, this encourages eating for pleasure instead of hunger.

Here are some sleep recommendations to support your fitness and overall health.

  • Make sure to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep.
  • Be consistent with your bedtime.
  • Decrease your intake of caffeine products, especially at night.
  • Turn off all technology including phones, TV’s, tablets, etc.