Sleeping Your Way to a Better Gym Game

It turns out that what you do AFTER the gym may be far more important than what you do IN the gym.

 

That’s right: While it may seem like you’re doing “nothing” when you fall asleep, sleep may be the most important factor in losing weight, burning fat and getting stronger.

 

How Sleep Impacts Your Health

 

  1. Sleep and Weight Gain

 

Lack of sleep causes a spike in cortisol, the so-called “stress hormone.” When you have high levels of cortisol, not only do you zap your energy levels, but your body also retains more fat. Specifically, fat around your midsection. Whether you’re trying to get a six pack or just want to tone your torso, sleep is your secret weapon.

 

  1. Sleep and Cravings

 

When you’re short on sleep, you’re short on willpower. When you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to indulge in junk food, sugar and snacks, and you’re more likely to overeat. By catching some Zs, you’ll catch a break from cravings.

 

  1. Sleep and Muscle Growth

 

Your body’s production of human growth hormone (the hormone that helps you repair and build muscle size and strength) spikes when you’re in a deep sleep. In other words, sleep is critical for proper post-gym recovery. After you’re done hitting the reps, hit the hay to maximize your results in the gym.

 

Supplements to Boost Your Sleep

 

Can’t get enough sleep? Several key supplements can help you get more rest, including:

  • Magnesium, which is nature’s so-called “chill pill”
  • Zinc
  • Melatonin
  • 5-HTP

 

Besides taking supplements, you can also try:

  • Reserving your bed just for sleep, not for working, reading or watching TV
  • Keeping your room dark and cool
  • Avoiding caffeine after lunch time

 

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