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Why sleep matters for fitness

Why sleep matters for fitness

By Jessica Ward

So much for the promised increased leisure time from technology – we seem to be busier than ever. Too many of us are burning the candle at both ends, and missing out on sleep.

A too-short or bad night gives those familiar effects of bad temper, slow thinking and general fuzzy-headedness. But did you know that the physical effects can be even worse?

There is evidence that sleep deprivation can have bad effects on your body as well as your mind. It can depress your immune system, raise your blood pressure and put you at increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

There is even some evidence that lack of sleep can stimulate appetite and encourage your body to store more fat, thus increasing weight.

That list should give everyone the incentive to make time for sleep. You also need to create the right environment for sleep. This is known as ‘sleep hygiene’ and here are some of the top tips.

Get some exercise

Exercise will help sleep – but leave some time to wind down. Shower or bathe after your workout and let your body relax for rest.

No more midnights snacks

Eating late doesn’t seem to affect weight – but going to bed with a full stomach can be uncomfortable. So allow some digestion time.

A place or everything

Bedroom not cinema – ban those screens! No TV in the bedroom is an obvious one, but get rid of the phone too. Buy an alarm clock to wake you, turn off your mobile and leave it downstairs. That also means that you won’t be disturbed by texts or messages.

Don't lie-in all weekend

Everyone enjoys a lie-in – but don’t go too mad at the weekend or Monday will be much more difficult.

Exercise, eat properly, relax and get enough sleep – the four best things that you can do for yourself.