How Sleep Affects Fitness

How Sleep Affects Fitness

3 Ways to Instantly Boost the Quality of Your Shut Eye

Sleep is an essential ingredient to your overall health and fitness. Getting sufficient sleep reduces stress, allows the body and mind to heal, and acts as a regulator for a number of hormonal and other systems and daily functions. We often place a lot of emphasis on how much sleep our children get, but our own circadian needs go unmet (sometimes because of our children…). According to Duke University researchers, not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. To optimize your workout and diet efforts, sleep becomes the third pillar for success in your fitness journey.


3 Ways to Instantly Boost the Quality of Your Shut Eye

1.  Turn Off and Tune Out

One hour before bed-time, remove yourself from your cell phone, tablet, computer, and TV screens (and any others we may have missed). The light in those devices has been proven to have properties that delay sleep and the production of melatonin—a naturally occurring sleep-inducing hormone.

Try This: If you are someone who needs help shutting off your brain before bed, we recommend reading or listening to a relaxing meditation. Remove devices from your bedroom to get rid of the temptation to just check your phone one last time, which inevitably leads to a 3-hour tour down the rabbit hole that is the Internet.


2.  Don’t Take Stimulants Before Bed

This seems like a no-brainer, but about 4 hours before you turn in for the night, cut out caffeine, alcohol, and other substances that might make it hard to fall or stay asleep. If you’re on medication, review them with your health care provider to see understand if there are any sleep interrupting side effects.

Try This: Caffeine-free, sleepy time tea is a soothing part of any bedtime routine. One of our Pursuit Training coaches likes to drink hot water with 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey—they swear it sends them to the Land of Nod in no time at all.


3.  Pick a Bedtime and Stick to It

Like your workouts and meals, you need to make sufficient sleep a priority. That might mean hitting the hay early so you can wake up feeling refreshed in the morning after getting the 7 – 9 hours most adults require (for teenagers it is 8 – 10 hours, so it’s no wonder getting them to school on time can be such a challenge).

Try This: Use an app (fitbit, Apple Health, etc. all have sleep monitoring mechanisms) or keep it simple and just set a reminder somewhere convenient. Some experts recommend keeping a sleep journal, so you can see how much or how little sleep you personally need to feel your best.


Of course, one key to a great sleep is keeping physically active and giving your body the nutrition it needs. Pursuit Training’s fitness coaches can help develop a routine that will assist not only with getting results through exercise, but will have ripple effects that you’re sure to feel in other areas of your health—sleep is just one area where you can expect to see an improvement.


What is your favourite hack for getting an amazing sleep? Follow us on Twitter @PursuitTraining and use #PursuitTraining so we can find and share your comments.


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