The clocks going forward can often energise people to start their summer fitness plan. With the beach beckoning and the weather starting to improve, you’ll see the gyms start to fill up again and the pavements being pounded by runners taking advantage of the lighter nights.
I see this happen every year, both at elite athlete level right down to your casual exerciser. But I also see a rapid drop off just weeks later, as people lose that impetus and find their hectic schedule catching up with them.
We all know that life can get in the way of our targets and goals. But often this comes down to nothing more than loss of motivation – something that is often influenced by low energy through lack of sleep.
It’s an obvious point to make that sleep affects energy levels and mood. But I always find it strange that people neglect to take care of their sleep patterns when embarking on a new regime or health kick. Sleep is the platform for improving both mental and physical performance, which is why failing to sleep well is as much of a disadvantage as missed sessions in the gym or on the road.
During the sleep cycle our bodies undertake everything from muscle repair (which allows us to get back in the gym quicker) to hormone production. Fail to allow enough time for this work to take place and the results can be a loss of concentration, dwindling energy levels and, subsequently, a dip in form. And believe me, there’s nothing more likely to hit your motivation than see your performance going backwards.
Another significant concern for those aiming to get shredded for summer is the effect that sleep has on both appetite and the way the body metabolises the food we eat. Diet is inextricably linked to sleep quality and our brains are hardwired to go into survival mode when sleep deprived. This has been proven to create cravings for high energy foods – with some research showing that our brains demand up to a 900 calorie surplus.
The problem is, when we satisfy these cravings with sugars the instant spike in energy is soon followed by an even worse slump – making the fatigue ten times worse.
I learnt a long time ago that missing hours in bed means missing targets in the gym, which is why I place real importance on leaving enough time for sleep and getting the sleep environment right. For me, that obviously starts with my Mammoth mattress, but it can also include getting the room nice and dark and keeping away from caffeine and computer screens before bed.
Build sleep targets in alongside your exercise goals and I promise you are much more likely to get the physique you’re aiming for than if you miss your bedtime.
Want to find out more about the Mammoth mattress slept on by Michelle? Discover the sleep technology that goes into every mattress Mammoth makes.