Diet and Exercise: The Effects on Sleep

In a world that is struggling with obesity, the main reason why people diet and exercise is to lose weight. However, there are many other reasons why you need to diet and exercise. Here are tips and benefits of diet and exercise as they are related to sleep.

Diet and ExerciseDiet and Exercise: Obesity’s Effects on Sleep

As mentioned above, diet and exercise can help you lose weight. In fact, obesity is the most obvious evidence that your current diet and exercise plan is failing. Obesity puts you at an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. An “apnea” is a short interruption in breathing that occurs during sleep.

Sleep apnea is related to shallow sleep as the patient spends most of their sleep in N-REM (the first stage of sleep cycle). Sleep apnea is characterized by snoring which interrupts your partner’s sleep pattern.  In addition to poor sleep, sleep apnea is related to increased risk of the following conditions:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Congestive Heart Failure

With a good diet and exercise regime, you should not have to worry about obesity or enjoying good night sleep.
Studies done all over the world have continued to confirm the close relationship between obesity and poor sleep. In fact, most people who fail to follow their diet and exercise plan (and are obese) are found to be have poor sleep. Here are reasons that can explain this phenomenon:

  • Poor sleep is associated with low energy levels. Without energy, you really cannot exercise.
  • Poor sleep is related to poor motivation and mental strength. Diet and exercise cannot work if you have poor motivation. How will you say no to junk food (which is often too available) if you have poor motivation?  Without motivation, you really can endure the pain experienced during exercises.
  • The path to obesity usually starts with sleep deprivation.  Time for sleep is replaced with eating. In fact, most sleep-deprived nighttime eaters are found to be obese.
  • With poor sleep, your body produces less of the hormone leptin with is your body’s natural appetite suppressant.

Diet and Exercise: Timing

Sleep is affected by the times you exercise and diet. In fact, poor diet and exercise timings are related to poor sleep. Here is how this happens:

  • 4 to 5 hours after exercising, your muscles are usually still active. For quality sleep, your muscles need to be relaxed. Therefore, you are advised to avoid exercising too close to your preferred bedtime.  On the flipside, exercising 4 to 5 hours before sleeping makes your muscles tired leading to better sleep.
  • Your body needs time to digest food. Sleep is generally poor if your body begins to digest food while you are on sleeping. For this reason, you are advised to go to bed 2 to 3 hours after eating.

Diet and Exercise: Important Sleep Tips

  • The hormone serotonin enhances sleep. Eat food such as milk and yoghurt which are rich in tryptophan which is serotonin’s precursor. Carbohydrates are also converted to tryptophan.
  • Take your supper at least 2 to 3 hours before sleeping.
  •  Do your exercises at least 4 hour before your preferred bedtime.
  • Alcohol may put you to sleep quickly but you will wake up at night once it has been excreted from the system.

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