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Oct 15 2014

Get Fit, Sleep Right

Woman RunningAt lunch your friend shares the latest exercise trend. You read an article in the newspaper about keeping your heart healthy. Talk show hosts encourage you to make lifestyle changes by taking the stairs and going for walks. But after changing your habits and exercising more, you don’t feel any different. Often, an overlooked factor in health and weight loss is sleep.


Sleep has been proven to play an important role in a body’s health. Studies have shown that the quantity and quality of your sleep is related to health problems such as weight gain, cardiovascular problems, and diabetes.


Did you know?

  • Receiving less than the recommended amount of sleep affects growth hormone secretion that is linked to obesity. The chance of weight gain increases as the amount of hormone secretion decreases.


  • During the sleep cycle, blood pressure usually falls. With interrupted sleep, it affects the decline which can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular problems.


  • Insufficient sleep can hinder the body’s ability to use insulin. This can lead to the onset of diabetes.


Not only does sleep affect your overall health, but the reverse is true as well – an active lifestyle can help with a better night of sleep. Sleep and a healthy lifestyle go hand-in-hand for positive well-being.


For example, staying active gives you energy throughout the day and speeds up metabolism. When it’s time for sleep, your body will be ready for rest. Studies have shown that activity during the day allows your body to sleep continuously at night. If you are feeling stressed, exercise can reduce stress, in return allowing you to fall asleep easier.


To get the most out of your exercise’s effect on sleep, be sure to exercise at least three hours before bed. Cooler body temperatures help with sleep onset and it can take as long as 6 hours for your body temperature to drop after a workout. If you weren’t able to fit a rigorous exercise into your day, stretches or a few yoga exercises can help regulate breathing and relax your muscles before bed.


Sleep and exercise work together for a healthy body. A great night of sleep should be part of any exercise program. Get inspired to incorporate exercise into your daily routine with ideas from our Get Fit, Sleep Right Pinterest board. To learn more about the connection between diet, sleep, and exercise, visit the National Sleep Foundation.

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