The Value of a Good Night’s Sleep

With our Shape-Up for Summer Challenge only 2 weeks out, it’s prudent to touch on a few very important things that are critical to have in place if you’re looking to make any sort of substantial and lasting change in your health and fitness journey. The key, whether you are trying to gain muscle mass, lose fat, maintain your current body composition, or simply move and feel better, is to focus on what we call the “big rocks” consistently. When your focus is on the foundations – the most important things – amazing results will follow.


Sleep – it’s so important! There is a modern-day misconception for many about the importance of sleep. You’ve likely heard the expression “you can sleep when you’re dead.” To fit in all the demands of our time, we often sacrifice sleep.


Sleep is vital to your health and performance. Though individual needs vary, the widely accepted baseline for adults is 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Depending on which study you read, anywhere from half of the US population to two-thirds of all adults in developed nations are not getting enough sleep. Our brains are wired to ignore the signs of sleep deprivation, so many of us get used to insufficient sleep without feeling the damage we are doing.


When you get enough sleep, great things happen in both your body and mind:


  • Enhanced immune function and disease resistance, helping you live longer;
  • Increased energy and strength so you feel and act more vibrantly;
  • Improved weight loss and glucose regulation, helping you lose fat instead of muscle;
  • Upgraded coordination and flexibility;
  • Boosted hormone levels so you recover faster;
  • Increased focus and creativity;
  • Enhanced memory and ability to learn complex skills; and
  • Improved emotion regulation


Here are some tips for better sleep:


  • Consistency: Keep a relatively consistent bedtime and wake time. Staying up late and sleeping in on weekends can disrupt your routine during the week.
  • Light: Keep the bedroom extremely dark, to tell the body’s light-sensitive clock that it’s time to sleep.
  • Noise: Keep the bedroom extremely quiet or use a white noise generator such as a fan.
  • Relaxation/Routine: Develop a pre-bed routine that is relaxing and familiar. Television, work, computer use, movies and deep/stressful discussions late at night can disrupt sleep. Suggested strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a bath, deep breathing, and meditation.
  • Temperature: Keep a slightly cool temperature in the room, between 67-72 F is generally recommended. 
  • Stimulants: Eliminate stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, especially later in the day. They stimulate your nervous system and may stop your body from relaxing at night.
  • Exercise: It can enhance all aspects of sleep and greatly reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
  • Fullness: Eating a dinner that makes you overly full can disturb sleep.

If you want to take better care of yourself, no matter your goals, prioritize sleep. It’s that essential. How much sleep do you currently get?

More to follow next week!

~ Coach MJ 😊