Hi, I’m Dr. John Spencer Ellis and I’m a fitness, wellness and personal development expert. I help people optimize their mental and physical performance through sleep, diet and exercise. Several years ago, I learned exactly what a quality night’s sleep can do for an athlete. While training on my mountain bike, I was hit by a car and badly injured. I tried acupuncture, stretching, and chiropractic to reduce the aches and pains; all were helpful, but the pain I felt prevented me from sleeping well and achieving a high-performance fitness level. After I started sleeping on a Sleep Number bed and I was able to adjust the mattress to my ideal level of comfort, firmness and support, the pain decreased and I slept better. The bed made a drastic improvement in my sleep quality, athletic performance and the quality of my life.
In fact, research shows sleeping better and longer leads to improved athletic performance, improved mood and higher energy levels. An extra hour of sleep each night helps you manage your weight and studies show well-rested people are more active and more likely to stick to a workout program. Quality sleep is also critical for appetite regulation since the hormones that manage our hunger rely on lots of sleep to work correctly.
Sadly, many Americans don’t realize the importance of sleep in their diet and exercise program, and may be underperforming in everyday life. According to the Better Sleep Council, 70 percent of Americans are not getting the recommended amount of sleep needed each night (7.5 hours or more). Below are three simple lifestyle changes I recommend you make to shed those extra pounds and maximize your fitness routine:
1) Consistency: Adopt a healthy routine of diet, exercise and sleep and keep it consistent each week. Also, make sure you eat meals high in protein (fish, lean beef, chicken) to increase the amount of lean body tissue.
2) Listen and Recover: Listen to your body as you naturally progress and increase your program, and make sure you let your body recover and rest.
3) Timing: A good workout can make you more alert, speed up your metabolism and energize you for the day ahead, but exercise right before bedtime can lead to a poor night’s sleep. Exercising at the right time is necessary to maximize sleep’s beneficial effects. I recommend finishing your workout at least 3 hours before bedtime.
The Olympic athletes who competed for their chance at gold-medal glory last month spent years getting their minds and bodies ready. I can assure you they achieved mental and physical benefits by getting enough sleep during their training. I encourage you to sleep well and exercise often to get the most out of you fitness and wellness routine.