So, you’ve got the basics in order. You’re making sure you get your workouts in, you’ve changed your eating habits- and you’ve probably seen some benefits for that. But, when you’re stuck in a fitness rut, constantly feel burned out, can’t lose those last few pounds or just cannot stay motivated, what gives?

Often we don’t account for the most basic of basics when it comes to a healthy, balanced life: SLEEP!

A good night’s sleep is just as important as exercise and healthy eating. We’re not being dramatic, it’s true. You can’t possibly be practicing a holistic, healthy lifestyle if you’re not getting enough quality sleep. In fact, not sleeping enough can actually undo all of the effort and hard work you’ve put in at the gym or in the kitchen. Especially in today’s society, people are constantly on the go. We have a do-or-die-trying mentality and we take pride in pushing the pedal to the metal. People love to brag about how many cups of coffee they need to survive the day. Sure, these might have some short-term gains but if this means you’re sacrificing sleep, we’ve got a problem. You can’t borrow from tomorrow think the next day doesn’t want to be paid.


WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?

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When your body doesn’t get enough sleep you wake up feeling exhausted, sluggish, probably grumpy, confused or even disoriented. But it’s not just your body and mind that feel this way, your fat cells do, too. If you keep this up long enough it will result in what is called “metabolic grogginess”. How long is “long enough”? Just four days. That’s right. Less than one week of sleep deprivation and your body’s ability to produce insulin is shot which means that your body is going to start storing fat in all the wrong places.

In addition to this, sleep deprivation also triggers the part of your brain that makes you crave food. But wait, it gets worse! Even just one night of bad sleep can fumble the activity in your frontal lobe which helps you make complex decisions, like deciding portion sizes. So, not only will you be hungry all the time, but you’ll have a harder time telling yourself that going back for a third or fourth helping might not be the best idea.

Studies have also shown that not getting enough sleep hinders your ability to accurately read or process other people’s emotions- in addition to your own. Sleep loss can actually dull your ability to read other’s facial expressions so your emotional intelligence is impacted.


THE SOLUTION

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All is not lost. We wouldn’t tell you there’s a problem without also providing a solution! There are tons of ways you can improve the quality of your sleep and, in turn, your quality of life!

First off, caffeine is killer. You might think of it as the cure-all for your sleep deprivation (it’s not.) but if you’re having coffee too close to bedtime it’s likely the cause of your sleep deprivation. We recommend cutting yourself off around 2pm latest. And remember, caffeine isn’t only in coffee so be wary of other products like chocolate, tea, pop, and energy bars that can keep you up. Want to know a secret? Caffeine is also present in shampoo. Remember those herbal essences commercials? Be wary of labels that guarantee the product will “wake you up”. It’s also hidden in face cleanser and other topical products. It adds up!

A seemingly super simple change you can make is to unplug at least an hour before bedtime. No TV, no Insta (even if you are looking at ours), no YouTube, no phone. Exposing yourself to lighted devices can send a confusing message to your brain and internal clock. Plus, consuming social content, news, etc can make it difficult for your brain to wind down. If you like reading before bed, opt for a physical copy of a book or at the very least turn down the brightness or switch to a night light on your Kindle.

Studies have shown that music has also been been proven to help sleep quality, even for clinical insomniacs. At EPIC, we are offering the Pzizz Pro app for FREE for personal training clients and members. Their “Dreamscapes” will help you fall asleep and stay asleep. (You can ask for a special code at the Front Desk or shoot us an email!)

Other simple tricks are to not workout within 2 hours before bed, don’t eat within an hour of bedtime (instead, substitute a snack with chamomile tea), expose yourself to natural light during the day when you can, and develop a bedtime routine. This routine can include powering down all electronics, pouring yourself a cup of herbal tea, starting to turn off lights, washing your face, meditating or curling up with a book; whatever will start to help your body wind down and prepare for a good night’s rest.

You can even track your progress! We’ve created a Replenishment Log to help you keep track of your replenishment practices (like hydration, meditation) and where you can log your sleep. You can pick up your copy in-person or request an electronic version here.


Research shows it’s less about how much sleep you get (still aim for 8 hours) but the quality. Uninterrupted sleep is where your body really has time to recover and will make your day-to-day SO much easier! Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to get back to basics and with these tricks it should be a cinch- we bet you can do it with your eyes closed! ;)