How Fitness and Nutrition Can Impact Your Sleep and Productivity
We all know how important it is to incorporate a regular fitness regimen and a healthy diet in our lives, but many of us neglect something just as important. Yes, sleep!
Sleep, rest or recovery are critical to maintaining a healthy body and mind. In fact, your level of fitness and the quality of your nutrition can impact your sleep just as much as sleep impacts both of them.
This synergy effect between sleep, exercise, and nutrition is important to keep in mind. To get the best and most productive results from all of the above, it’s important not to neglect any of them.
Let’s take a look at how your fitness and nutrition can impact your sleep and productivity.
How Does Fitness Impact Quality of Sleep?
When we exercise regularly, we also tend to get more quality sleep. One of the main reasons why is because exercise reduces stress levels and tires us out. Exercise can decrease anxiety, depressive symptoms, and arousal, all of which are factors that help us wind down.
Exercise during the early morning or afternoon hours is a great way to reset your sleep-wake cycle and strengthen your circadian rhythm. Contrary to popular belief, exercising later in the day or close to bedtime won’t necessarily keep you up. It really comes down to the individual. For me, early morning exercise helps me sleep best. You might be different. Try both and see what works best for you.
Mike Behnken, MS, NASM-CPT from AskTheTrainer.com believes “Any exercise is better than no exercise, so if your schedule doesn’t permit an early morning exercise session, simply work out later in the day.” It seems most people benefit from an earlier session; however, it is ultimately up to you to find what works best for you.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that your level of fitness won’t dramatically impact your quality of sleep overnight. No pun intended. However, as this sleep study suggests, exercising subjects in the 16-week study got as much as 1.25 hours of extra sleep per night. Now that’s pretty darn significant.
The takeaway here is that your level of fitness can and will positively impact your sleep, but the key is being consistent and patient while your body adjusts to your new regular exercise routine. In time, you’ll begin to catch more ZZZ’s when you stick with regular and consistent exercise.
The Impact Fitness Has on Sleep Quality and Productivity:
- Our sleep quality will improve if we exercise regularly. The key is to stay consistent for it takes time for our body to adjust to a new rhythm. In time, we will naturally begin to sleep better and this will also improve our day-to-day productivity. A well-rested body means a well-rested mind.
- The benefits of exercise when it comes to sleep and productivity are many. A healthy lifestyle means quality sleep. When we sleep better, we perform better both at the gym and in life.
- The importance of sleep can’t be stressed enough and one way to ensure we get a good night’s rest is to adopt a fitness lifestyle. A good night’s rest also means improved muscle recovery and growth. Exercise and sleep work together and the result is an improvement in productivity in and out of the gym.
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How Does Nutrition Impact Quality of Sleep?
Alongside exercise, nutrition is also a major part of the “quality sleep” equation. Nutrition can’t be stressed enough when it comes to improving our sleep and increasing our productivity in all facets of life.
Because nutrition impacts our sleep quality and productivity in many ways, dialing-in our nutrition is critical. The foods we consume during the day directly interfere with our quality of sleep when it’s time to wind down.
For example, consuming low-quality foods including heavily processed ones, and those high in sugar and carbohydrates will impact our blood sugar levels which may keep us buzzed when it’s time to catch some zzz’s. Caffeine-infused products will also mess with our sleep cycles.
Try to avoid foods that give you energy all day when it’s getting close to bedtime. It’s best to consume these types of high-energy foods early in the day to take advantage of the critical morning boost they will give you.
Abs are not only made in the kitchen. When we sleep we also build muscle thanks to the magic of muscle recovery. Allowing our muscles to rest after exercise is when the process of muscle growth truly begins. When our body rests our muscles will repair themselves and grow as a result.
The Impact of Nutrition on Sleep Quality and Productivity:
- If we eat a healthy diet our body will rest better at night which will impact our productivity during the day. If you have trouble sleeping at night, avoid consuming high sugar, carbohydrate foods or those with lots of caffeine, especially in the afternoon. These foods will certainly make it harder for you to fall asleep.
- Try to avoid high-energy foods during the afternoon hours and especially before bedtime.Reserve these foods for the morning hours and go for foods that help you sleep later in the day. For example, try almonds or turkey instead of doughnuts or a big fat slice of bread or cake and replace your Coca-Cola with gold ole’ fashioned water or a sleepy tea like Chamomile.
Exercise, nutrition, and our sleep quality all contribute to keeping our body balanced which reflects in our day-to-day activities. When we exercise and eat a healthy diet regularly, we also tend to sleep better. And when we sleep better, we also tend to exercise more, eat healthier, and live a healthier, happier, and more productive life.
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