Sleep your way to fitness? Almost

Fitness Answer Man

Fitness Answer Man

December 01, 2008|By CHAD SMITH

If only we could sleep our way to fitness. It's not quite that easy, but recent sleep studies by researchers in Chicago, New York and Quebec suggests that people who get the least sleep tend to be the most overweight.

In October, several doctors announced during a Canadian conference several studies that suggest getting less than the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep at night can increase contributing factors for obesity, according to CNet news (

These include sugar cravings, a decrease in the body's ability to regulate appetite, and a metabolic disruption that can cause a person's metabolism to resemble the metabolism of someone with diabetes.

The researchers also suggested links between reduced hours of sleep and increased risk of hypertension, diabetes and heart attacks. All of which we want no part of.


When my clients are fully rested on a regular basis, their fitness performance is consistently progressive. I always know when my clients aren't getting enough rest, as their motivation and performance tank faster than a new Backstreet Boys album.

Start taking your rest and recovery more seriously. Hard exercise and solid nutrition make up the vehicle for looking and feeling your best. Rest and recovery are the vehicle's wheels.

Your body's building and improvement happen while you sleep, not while you work. Here are some tips to get more rest and maximize your recovery:

o Do your best to get seven to eight hours of sleep at night.

o Put a day of low-intensity exercise between your high-intensity days for "active recovery."

o If you can, take a 20-minute nap at some point in your day. Or take two 10-minute naps.

o See a nutritionist for a pre-bedtime supplement combo to increase the quality of your sleep.

o Avoid caffeine at night, including coffee and chocolate.

Put these tips into action, and you'll have more energy and better performance for whatever your activity might be.

Chad Smith is a local fitness expert and certified personal trainer. Visit his blog at for information on how to get fit and stay fit.

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