Struggling to see any fat loss results even when you’re working hard in the gym and on top of your nutrition game?
A consistent, good night's sleep could be the missing factor to your journey sis!
Sleep is CRUCIAL to your health, and not just to feel more awake and cut down on your coffee intake. Even our own MWU Coach, Rachel Dillon, experienced how much of a difference sleep makes to your health and fitness.
“For the last few months, I have been having the most broken sleep, waking up anywhere from 5-8 times a night, YIKESSS. Sleep is so underrated when it comes to fat loss! By implementing some changes I have noticed a MASSIVE improvement in retraining my sleep patterns'".
So we teamed up with Rach to deep dive into exactly how you can improve your sleep quality and get back to feeling good, and seeing those results!
What kind of damage sleep deprivation can have on your results
Whenever you see information on fat loss, you’ll usually see loads of education on nutrition and exercise — but sleep quality is often overlooked, yet extremely important.
In fact, research shows that dropping your sleep from 7-8 hours a night to just 5-6 hours can damage your fat loss progress in as little as 2 weeks! Not only can a lack of sleep slow down your fat loss, it also makes you at risk of losing muscle mass, despite seemingly training and eating correctly for your goal.
And if you’ve ever felt starving after a bad night’s sleep, it could be because sleep deprivation can disrupt the hormonal regulation of your appetite, making you more likely to want to eat more, and in turn lead to weight gain.
If you’ve had more than a few nights of tossing and turning and you’re worried about having your hard-earned fat loss results ruined, don’t panic! There’s a number of tools and tips you can incorporate to improve your sleep and get back on track to your goal.
Tips for improving your sleep quality
Be mindful of your caffeine intake
We all know that caffeine is there to get us up and going on days where we’re feeling sluggish, and it’s no secret that it can have a disruptive effect on sleep. It’s important to take a step back and look at how much we’re consuming at once, and if it’s adding up without us realizing it.
Everyone’s caffeine sensitivity is different, but it’s generally recommended that healthy adults consume no more than 400mg of caffeine in a day, and no more than 200mg at one time. And that counts for all sources of caffeine! Pre-workouts, soft drinks, and even chocolate all contain it, so it’s worth taking a look at what you’re consuming in a day, and if you think you might be going overboard — cutting back to see the difference it makes.
Caffeine ISN’T the enemy, and can give you a healthy energy boost to get through your day, but moderation is the key to stop it from keeping you away at night.
Rach herself found that simply switching how she consumes her caffeine made a huge difference.
“Replacing my morning coffee with tea was one of those easy switches for me! Tea still contains caffeine, but less than my typical coffee. I have been loving T2 Morning Sunshine. And if I ever want to enjoy a coffee later in the day, I’ve been having decaf - same great taste without adding excess caffeine into my day”
Don’t drink too much water before going to bed
No one likes the feeling of having to get up in the middle of the night! Not only do you have to leave a comfy bed, but it often disrupts your entire night of sleep and leaves you feeling groggy the next day. And one of the biggest perpetrators of this? Toilet trips after having too much water before bed.
Drinking too much water (or any other beverages) right before going to bed can increase your need to get up and go throughout the night. And while it’s important to stay hydrated, if you find yourself making more than a few trips to the bathroom check how much water you’re drinking — it can be a real eye-opener!
Rachel herself aims to consume a lot of her daily water intake well before bedtime so she can get an uninterrupted nights’ rest.
“I’m a big water drinker and aim for 3L a day - but also try and have all of it before 4 PM. Then I just have my evening cup of tea!”
Look at your eating habits
Fan of a late-night dinner or snack? The effects of eating soon before you sleep vary greatly, so we’re not here to say you CAN’T go for that snack.
In fact, it comes with certain benefits, like stable blood glucose levels and curbing any middle of the night cravings. But for some people, eating before bed can lead to discomfort and indigestion — and there goes your sleep quality.
If you’ve found yourself feeling uncomfortable or bloated while you’re trying to sleep, it’s often recommended you eat your last meal 3 hours before bedtime. But if not? There’s nothing wrong with eating close to bed! Just watch out for caffeine-containing foods like chocolate, and most importantly — listen to your body.
Check your Vitamin D levels
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin” that’s produced when you spend time in the sun, isn’t just great at helping our bone health. It’s also amazing at helping regulate your sleep pattern!
Being Vitamin D deficient, on the other hand, can wreak havoc on your sleep, leading to multiple of issues, poor sleep quality, and overall tiredness. To prevent this, getting out in the sun can definitely help, as long as you’re being sun smart and not overdoing it. If you suspect a deficiency though, chat with your doctor about a solution.
Watch your screen time
We can all fall victim to endlessly scrolling through IG, TikTok, or work emails at night, and if you have before you’d be familiar with how much of a major disruption it can be to your sleep quality!
Not only can going through high volumes of information late at night make it hard to switch off and catch some zzz’s, but the light exposure from bright devices online can disrupt your melatonin regulation — the sleep hormone — and make it harder to fall asleep.
So what’s a girl to do? In this case darkness, and a great technology-free bedtime routine, are your new best friends.
Create a bedtime routine
Speaking of a bedtime routine, we couldn’t recommend it highly enough Queens!
A good bedtime routine is a clear set of activities you perform in the same order, every night, usually 30-60 minutes before you head off to bed. And while it can feel tough to create habits, setting up clear tasks will eventually become an automatic routine that helps you unwind each night, and signals to your brain that it’s time to relax.
A great tip from Rach is to introduce a sleepy tea that signals it’s time to start winding down, but actively makes it easier to!
“1hr before bed I have a T2 The Dreamer + helps ease my mind and has made falling asleep much easier. Sometimes I also add a Valerian supplement - I only take these when I feel stressed or my mind won't settle.”
Start tracking your sleep and make sure your body is ready to go
The bottom line is; quality sleep is ESSENTIAL to a successful fat loss journey, and is just as important as your training and nutrition.
If you’ve been losing track of just how much sleep you’ve been managing, our sleep tracker in the MWU App is the perfect place to start tracking your snoozing and make sure those average hours are staying around 7-8 sis, after all — you deserve it, and so does your body!