How sleep can help boost your health and fitness
These are uncertain and difficult times for all of us, as the Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly causing great levels of concern. We may be required to stay in our homes for the imminent future, but that does not mean we cannot keep up with our fitness and health. Sleep is a vital component of health, and it is imperative we adapt our lifestyles during these unprecedented times to ensure we get the required amount of rest, improving our fitness and immune system through the on-going Covid-19 situation.
Finding a consistent sleeping pattern to boost your health and fitness
Whether you are able to work from home, have to look after your children or are self-isolating, there are a number of ways in which you can keep on top of your mental and physical health throughout this period of containment. It may sound simple, but even having yourself a regular sleeping pattern can be a key component of building your fitness. The NHS recommends a sleep of 8 hours is a healthy amount for our bodies to relax and reset during the night, preparing ourselves for the rigours of the following day. But how do we go about ensuring we get in our 8 hours?
Follow these 3 simple steps to optimise your sleep and fuel your fitness.
1. Exercise promotes more efficient sleep
Exercise is one of the quickest wins we can have to get a better night’s sleep. Getting into a regular pattern of exercise can really pay dividends not only for your fitness, mental health and confidence, but it can also enable your body to relax on a night, ensuring you get the required amount of sleep to wake up healthier and in better condition.
Whether you have home gym equipment, the space to store home gym equipment or you are relying on core exercises you can still benefit hugely from training either in the morning or before you go to bed – there is no right or wrong time of day to workout. Exercise supports your ‘body clock’, allowing your body to understand the time of day and the situation better. This will allow your body to realise that it is night time, therefore getting ready to shut down and giving you a better chance of optimising your sleep.
The main objective is to get your hear rate going, improving circulation and blood flow for a healthier body and a healthier you. Having a good sleeping pattern will certainly benefit your fitness.
2. Pay more attention to what you eat and drink
This may sound like a bit of a given, but it is vitally important nonetheless. As we are embarking on an unusual circumstance of being indoors, away from society and away from our daily routines for a while, nutrition will become a key component to your fitness and sleeping pattern. Lets be honest, we all have a craving for ‘comfort food’ every now and then, and being at home for the majority of the day is a temptation we can all do without.
Instead of going into your cupboard for your favourite packet of crisps, or biscuit, make sure you are training yourself to think about what you are putting into your body. Replenishing yourself with the right fuel is vital for preparing your body for a healthy sleep. Try to avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of when you would usually go to bed. So, if your bedtime is usually at 10pm, you shouldn’t be having a big meal after 8pm, for example.
If you like a hot drink before going to bed, why not substitute your tea of coffee for a Chamomile tea? This helps to boost your immune system, reduce anxiety and depression and improve skin health. In addition, chamomile tea has some unique properties that may improve sleep quality. Fruit and vegetables of course are always encouraged, but the main threat to your sleep would be putting caffeine, sugar and carbohydrates into your body relatively close to when you would like to sleep.
3. Relax your mind
- A good sleep can be achieved by keeping your mind relaxed in the evening, especially if you have had a busy day working from home or looking after the kids. Having a warm bath will help your body and mind prepare for sleep, or even participating in light exercises such as yoga can relax your body and mind for sleep.
- Put your mobile phone on ‘do not disturb’ or stop scrolling through your social media accounts once you are in bed. This will keep your mind occupied and distracted, hindering the sleep hormone ‘melatonin’ from being released. Reading a book, however, can help, but it is better to read on your sofa or chair rather than in bed. Keep your bedroom for sleeping in.
- If you have to do a few hours of work on an evening, like catch up on emails or update a spread sheet, then try to give yourself at least an hour of relaxation before going to bed. This will help your mind switch off from work and forget the issues of the day, allowing you to focus on sleeping.
Join our fun and inclusive fitness community
During this difficult time, we’re encouraging people to come together. Focus your love for fitness and the gym into our new series of home workouts that still allow you to work towards your goals and health in the comfort of your own home. Share your workouts with us and show us how you’re using this time to continue on your fitness journey with Xercise4Less Gyms. Once you’ve repeated the exercises at home and built up confidence, make a visit to the gym once we’re back open and use our wide range of quality equipment and facilities to improve your strength further.
All Xercise4Less Gyms provide members with access to a range of top quality kit as part of our great value gym memberships, including:
- Private and self-contained Female Only gym zones for female members
- Over 400 pieces of gym equipment for beginners to bodybuilders
- Dedicated cardio and free weights training areas to build up your fitness
- Motivated Personal trainers to help you achieve your health ambitions
- Free weights ranging from 2kg to 75kg to build up your fitness
- Wide range of resistance machines for toning and building muscle
- Strength training apparatus like Olympic lifting platforms and squat racks for power lifters
- Great selection of weight plates and cable machines for weight training
- Large fitness studio perfect for stretching or creating custom mini cardio or light-weighted circuits with boxes, barbells, mats and plates
- Purpose-built spinning-area with 30 spin bikes
- Full-size boxing ring, MMA cage and punch bags in our amazing combat zone.