An important aspect of good all-round fitness means getting a good night’s sleep.
According to Oxford University the quality of our sleep boosts our fitness and influences future family line reproductive success.
Another study by the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory kept tabs on a group of athletes over a three-week period.
They did nothing different except increase their sleep and saw marked improvements in performance, including faster sprint times, longer endurance, lower heart rate and an overall better workout.
Finally a study by the University of Arizona found that poor sleep quality was associated with nighttime snacking and a high likelihood of craving junk food.
Researchers also found that poor sleep quality seemed to be a major predictor of junk food cravings, and that junk food cravings were associated with a greater likelihood of participants reporting obesity, diabetes and other health problems.
“Laboratory studies suggest that sleep deprivation can lead to junk food cravings at night, which leads to increased unhealthy snacking at night, which then leads to weight gain. This study provides important information about the process, that these laboratory findings may actually translate to the real world,”
Michael A. Grandner, PhD, MTR
I must admit I was not surprised at these findings as I researched this post.
My own experience with not getting enough sleep has meant that I binge on junk, am irritable during the day and generally have a low mood (as a consequence of the chocolate/junk as well as the lack of sleep).
Creativity also tends to take a nose dive at these times so I was desperate to find a solution.
In word that solution is: Headspace.
Or more to the point the Headspace app.
This little beauty has helped me get a better night’s sleep, which has helped me to be more creative (new look weekly newsletter) and trained my mind to be more calm during the day.
The Headspace App
It starts by taking you through their ‘basics pack’ – totally free – which is a 10 day beginners course on how to meditate.
You can choose the length of these sessions from 3, 5 and 10 minutes long.
If anyone had told me a month ago that I would be meditating regularly I would have nodded politely and carried on with my day.
Now it appears that taking time out to simply slow the f*&k down and spend time ‘in the moment’ will always be a part of my schedule.
Since using the app I’ve noticed:
- A meaningful and long night’s sleep
- Waking up earlier to get sh*t done
- Irritability exchanged for positivity
- Slower and deeper thought processes
- Driving, cooking, planning – everything is slower and more considered
Oh and the emotional binge cravings are far less frequent than they have been.
Try it out and see if you feel a difference on their basics course – I have.
For more on mindfulness and how to incorporate it into your life check out ‘What is mindfulness?’ for a deeper appreciate of the craft.
P.S. – I’m currently drinking Vanilla Chai from Pukka of an evening to satisfy my sweet tooth.