Sleep Yourself Fit!

I am enjoying the last 6 weeks of my training for the Boston Marathon…..things are going well!  Ok yes, there have been times when I have wanted to sleep instead of train but despite that my body is hanging in there pretty well.

A couple of weeks ago I was not sleeping very well (I blame it on watching too much of the Olympics!!) and as expected, mood swings, a decrease in my energy level and training performance occurred.  Coincidentally, last week while I was dreaming about how much I love sleeping, NBC news aired an interesting segment on sleep and how it is AS IMPORTANT as exercise and nutrition in staying fit.

Researchers say that how much you sleep and quite possibly the quality of your sleep may cause variations in hormonal activity tied to your appetite. Lack of sleep can affect insulin production and increase the release of stress hormones. Insulin is produced by the beta cells in the pancreas primarily in response to a rise in blood glucose. Its function is to take nutrients from the blood stream and store them in body cells.

Sleep can also affect the hormones leptin and ghrelin.  Ghrelin, produced in the intestinal tract and stimulates appetite (ughhhh) Produced by fat cells, Leptin is the hormone that signals the part of the brain that controls appetite and satiety. When you don't get enough sleep, it decreases leptin levels, which means you don't feel as satisfied after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food.

It also said that you are less likely to feel like exercising if you are sleep deprived (those of you who have not been able to make it to 5:30am boot camp know this story!)

So if you are an early riser getting up for a 5:30am training session it is really important that you are not only getting sleep but that you are getting QUALITY SLEEP!

Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Here are a few tips from sleep experts:

  • Unplug and turn off of the TV, laptop, phone
  • Cut Caffeine (avoid coffee/caffeine 6 hrs before bed)
  • Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time on most nights
  • Get regular exercise (preferably in the morning-NOT right before bed)
  • Do something relaxing (breathing, meditation, take a warm bath)
  • Eat well (nothing too heavy before bed but make sure you are not starving eitherJ)

For more information- Take a look at these two short clips from NBC

Sleep- A Critical Part of Staying Fit

How You Sleep is Important

Ok, I need to unplug and get some zzzz's!

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