The easiest thing that I have found that you can do to help you in your fitness journey, is to force yourself to get enough sleep. I know that it sounds too good to be true “just sleep your way skinny” or however you want to approach it, but after losing and maintaining over 100 pounds, I am here to tell you just how important sleep really is, and why you need to make sure that you are sleeping more in order to get fit.
Join Sarah in the 9th post in her free extreme weight loss series as she teaches you how getting enough zzz’s will help you reach your goals.
Doctors and fitness experts alike, across the board and even across the world seem to agree on one thing. Adequate sleep is important for overall good health… However, they don’t always tell you exactly what the benefits are when it comes to the battle of the bulge.
For me, as I have been really digging down deep and getting to know myself, I soon realized that when I was not getting enough sleep…that is somehow also when I am struggling the hardest to lose weight or to even maintain my weight in general.
Why do sleep and fitness go hand in hand?
When I think hard on what behaviors tend to happen (for me personally) as a result of being tired and grouchy, it’s not hard to realize why I’m setting myself up for failure in the fitness department when I’m not getting enough good sleep.
That is because when I’m tired, I am most definitely not running at full capacity. I usually have a headache if I get less than seven hours in one night.
I also can’t think as clearly. Not only that but it seems like my emotions go on an uncontrollable roller coaster ride when it has been more than a couple nights in a row without catching up on my rest…maybe I’m just a pansy, but not resting enough really puts me in a negative funk.
In fact, when I think about my eating disorder (read how I overcame binge eating disorder here), and I also think about any times that I find myself slipping and having a binge… you better believe that there is about a 90% chance that I have not been sleeping enough.
Lack of sleep really affects my mental health status…and by that I am talking about how my stress and anxiety levels seem to be much harder to get under control, or to manage on any level, when I an exhausted and running on fumes.
Though it’s hard to admit it, but when I’m mentally exhausted that is when it is the easiest to make poor choices, or slip into my old fat-girl habits, when it comes to food.
I actually think that is very common, but maybe not so many people are self-aware about it…so I’m writing this post to get you thinking about your own personal situation with sleep and so you can start figuring out what your sleep (or lack thereof) may be doing to you and your eating habits.
Another thing, when you’re up late and hitting the snooze button repeatedly the next morning…sometimes that also throws you into a place where you have to make the choice to skip a morning workout…so lack of sleep can mess up your productivity for the whole day if your workout was the first thing on the “to-do” list and you had to skip it because you were too tired.
How can I lose weight in my sleep?
If I’m staying up until all hours of the night, or waking up entirely much too early…that also increases the window of hours that I could possibly be eating and makes it much harder to keep a calorie deficit goal.
So, when you’re thinking about how “losing weight in your sleep” is even possible… think about how when you are asleep, you are not up and about consuming unnecessary calories…out of boredom, or for whatever other reason you could possibly have.
For me, the more time that the house is quiet, the more time that it gives this brain of mine time to relive many of my trauma’s, think about the stupid thing I said or a bad decision I made that was catastrophic, and I mull them over…over…over…and over…it’s when my demons come out to play, and that alone can trigger some binge eating.
So, sleeping can help you lose weight because it gives your mind some rest and helps you manage your anxiety and stress levels (keeping them in check)…and when we have our wits about us, we can all make better decisions in general.
It also means that if we’re not letting anxiety get the best of us…we actually get to reap the benefits of all the work we put in towards our fitness goals during the day before.
Why do I lose weight in my sleep?
Being mindful of your bodies basic needs of adequate sleep, water, nutrition, and what your body may need on any personal level is the key to having sleep help you to lose and to maintain your weight.
Sleeping enough is taking care of your mind. Taking care of your mind also takes care of your body…and our bodies naturally want to be fit, if we just actually start listening to what our bodies are saying to us, plain and simple, we will also naturally start regulating our weight.
Tips to aid in getting enough sleep to stay on track with fitness goals:
Here are some ideas to help set yourself up for success, so you can get a good night of sleep on a regular basis.
- Take the time to wind down an hour or two before bedtime… literally put the “to-do” list away, and do something that is calming/relaxing.
- Actually mother yourself and set (and stick to) a reasonable bedtime.
- Don’t eat two or three hours before your bedtime (this will allow your body to be done digesting, so it can focus on creating those natural sleeping hormones).
- Find a good source for white noise. I like to use a “rain sounds” playlist on Spotify that plays for an uninterrupted eight hours. It feels like my mind focuses on that noise instead of the 8,000 other things it likes to dart around to when I’m in bed.
- Let the people in your life know that you need to start focusing on your health, and your sleep, as part of your fitness goals so that they can help you achieve those goals.
- Get all your liquid drinking done at least two hours prior to bedtime so that you don’t have to wake up to use the bathroom. If I have to get up to pee, my mind starts racing over what I need to get done that day, so I really struggle to get back to sleep.
- Put the screens away. Stop stimulating your brain, and allow your mind a little bit of time to relax.
Start thinking about other things that you could do to help yourself wind down and get yourself in the mood for sleep. It could actually help everyone in your household create a calming/relaxing environment and everyone may sleep a bit better.
Those are all things I can think about to share with you all about making sure you’re getting enough sleep, because I promise you, once you start becoming mindful of your basic needs…such as sleep, you are going to have fat loss/weight loss results that are not only so much easier to achieve, but also so much easier to maintain.
One more note: Sometimes our lack of sleep is out of our control, but you should keep in mind that sleep deprivation is actually a form of abuse (I have been there, and been abused like that), so if you have someone in your life that is keeping you on a timer for sleep (and you are only allowed a certain inadequate amount of time to sleep), it is very possible that you’re in an abusive situation/relationship, so I hate to tell you this…but it may be time to get away from that person (you know, unless it’s an infant, or you’re just a person that lazes about and it’s someone genuinely trying to get you up and productive). Sometimes it takes someone else pointing out just how unhealthy/controlling/toxic a situation really is, so this is me giving those of you in that situation a little bit of a nudge…hopefully in the right direction, because I just want everyone to be healthy, happy, and safe.
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and supporting my endeavors to make people’s lives a little easier/better. If you liked this post, or found it helpful in any way, please make sure to share it with your family, friends, and co-workers via social media…or you could even send them the direct link via email. Whichever way you choose to spread the love, I super appreciate it! ~Sarah
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If you would like to check out my entire fitness section, go here.
Here are the direct links to all the posts, in order of what I deem most important information, in my fitness series (they are continually updated as I learn and grow):
Direct links to free fitness series:
Step 1: How to overcome binge eating disorder:
Step 2: How to understand fitness in general:
Step 3: Everything you need to know about fitness journaling:
Step 4 : What you actually need to know about strength training:
Step 5: Why drinking enough water needs to become part of your daily fitness routine:
Step 6: Intermittent Fasting For Long Term Weight Loss:
Step 7: How to be more physically active your everyday life:
Step 8: How much protein do I need for weight loss?:
Step 9: What you need to know about the link between sleep and fitness:
Step 10: The Skinny On Eating Carbs And Weight Management
Step 11: The Importance Of A High Protein Breakfast
Here’s another great wellness tip that you’re going to want to remember:
For those of you that would like another option of a “pinnable image” to share on Pinterest, here you go…thanks again so much for the support!
*I am no Dr, Nutritionist, or medical professional in any way. These are just things and thoughts that I wanted to share because they have helped me in my personal weight loss journey.
**Please note that this post was originally shared on this website on February 18, 2022 and has since been/will continue to be updated frequently to improve user experience, stay current, as well as add any other helpful information as I find it.