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September 23, 2018: Sleep Recovery

My weekly Get Your Stuff Together Sunday email series gives you one actionable focus for the week that will make your life a little easier.

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When someone decides they want to improve their health, they first begin with an exercise routine, and maybe get they their nutrition in check. While these steps are great and are needed, there is one important element that most people leave out of the equation - sleep habits. Sleep is the often-forgotten but integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Without proper sleep, it can be hard to exercise, to focus on eating well, and it can even be harder to maintain your weight because you lose muscle mass and tone due to poor sleep habits. This week, we’re talking about sleep recovery and how getting enough quality sleep can change everything.

Sleep = recovery

Sleep supports healthy growth and development - yes, even for us grown and sexy adults. It boosts muscle mass by helping repair damaged cells and tissues. During sleep, growth hormone, testosterone, and insulin-like growth factor are all released to aid in protein synthesis. With sleep deprivation, these hormones decrease, and myostatin and cortisol increase. With a lack of sleep, you also see a drop-in muscle recovery after all of your work in the gym.

Less sleep = more food

Reduced sleep time has been linked to an increased risk of being overweight or obese. Over time, poor sleep, or a lack of sleep, increases signals to the brain to eat, and decreases signals telling the brain that enough food has been eaten. When we get less sleep, the stress hormone, cortisol, increases. This can then increase cravings for food. Lack of sleep can play a role in hormone release, glucose regulation and cardiovascular function, as well as being a risk factor for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

How to get better sleep

  • Stop drinking caffeine after lunchtime. If you’re especially sensitive, try cutting it out completely.

  • Watch your alcohol intake.

  • Workout in the morning instead of evening.

  • Eat a lighter dinner and limit bedtime snacks.

  • Read a book instead of an ebook or playing on your phone.

  • Use blackout curtains or a sleep mask to reduce light.

  • Set your thermostat a little cooler at night.

  • Have a pre-sleep routine to help you wind down.

If you improve your sleep habits, your body has time to replenish and recover, whether it’s from your day, stress, or from a workout.

Next Sunday, we’ll talk about creating better warm-ups that prepare your body for exercise and prevent injury.

Do you have a friend who could stand to G(her)ST? Feel free to forward this!

I hope you have a wonderful week,


Kelly Morgan, Ph.D.

Tsirona -

My weekly GYSTS email give you one actionable thing to do for the week that will make you life a little easier. As "they" say, "Fail to plan; plan to fail." Get these emails (and more!) delivered right to your inbox by clicking HERE.