If you load up an article on getting shredded on your favorite bodybuilding website chances are they won’t be talking much about the importance of sleep. Usually they focus on some sort of new exercise technique or nutrition plan.
Unfortunately they are ignoring one of the most important factors in the quality of your physique – sleep. You see, even with a shitty diet you can still live to be 70+. However, if you forgo sleep you’d be lucky to stay alive for more than a week!
In fact, tons of research out there shows that not getting enough sleep is one of the biggest risk factors that leads to obesity and heart disease.
Simply put, if you aren’t getting enough shut-eye your physique will suffer and you will have a hard time losing fat, building muscle mass and performing at a high level in general.
Over the last 20 years the amount of quality sleep we have been getting has steadily declined. This is a result of a number of factors including changing sleep habits, less exercise and diet.
Now, committing to a new exercise and diet plan can seem daunting but getting enough sleep is a change you can implement a lot more easily. Check out the article below to find out more about how sleep impacts fat loss not to mention all the positive benefits you can get from more shut-eye.
How Lack of Sleep Impacts your Health
Generally speaking, if you are getting less than 8 hours of sleep each night that is considered lack of sleep. Poor sleep habits impact your weight in a number of ways.
Some of these are direct such as lower metabolism, others are indirect such as fatigue which impacts your energy levels in the gym and leads to overeating. The list below are the most common symptoms of inadequate sleep.
Decreased cognitive function – Do you find your mind is not as sharp after getting only a few hours sleep? It’s quite common for cognitive function to drop when we don’t get enough sleep. As a result, our performance in the classroom or at our job suffers.
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Reduced Energy Levels – This is the most obvious symptom. If you are feeling tired you are less likely to perform physical activity of any sort which means you will burn fewer calories throughout the day.
Decreased Leptin Levels – Leptin is the hormone in your body that signals to your brain that you are full and that you don’t need any more food. However, lack of sleep will impact this crucial hormone leading to overeating and weight gain.
Boost in Ghrelin Levels – This hormone signals to your body that it is hungry and needs food. Therefore, if your Ghrelin levels are elevated you will end up eating more than you actually need.
Consuming More Processed Foods – Studies have also shown that when we are operating on insufficient sleep we are more likely to eat processed foods that are high in carbs and fats. These types of foods generally lead to fat gain and slower metabolism.
Reduced Insulin Sensitivity – Higher levels on insulin sensitivity are linked with muscle loss, poor health and weight gain. People who are highly sensitive to insulin tend to store calories as fat rather than muscle.
Drop in Carbohydrate Metabolism – How you handle blood sugar or glucose is actually impacted by the amount of sleep you get. Therefore, if you are consuming a high-carb meal you are more likely to store it as fat if you are operating on less sleep.
Lousier Workouts – This one should be obvious but it’s still worth mentioning. Not only will you feel less motivated to go to the gym but even if you do manage to make it to the gym your workout will be subpar if you haven’t been sleeping much. Remember that we need progressive overload to grow our muscles and if we are too tired to lift our usual resistance level then we won’t make much progress.
More Opportunity to Eat – Obviously you can’t eat while you are sleeping – so that’s 8 hours a day where you won’t consume any calories. However, if you are staying awake late into the night you will have more opportunities to walk over to the fridge and get something to eat. These calories add up over time and can lead to fat gain.
Impaired Immune System Function – People who don’t get enough sleep tend to get sick more easily. This is because lack of sleep impact immune system functioning. Not to mention you will have a harder time recovering from workouts since your body does most of the repair work overnight.
Increased Inflammation – Lack of sleep will increase inflammation in your body which can lead to some serious diseases. It also impacts the good bacteria in your gut.
Drop in Testosterone Levels – Testosterone levels of all men in general have been declining. To make matters worse, we tend to experience a natural drop in testosterone levels as we age. Insufficient sleep has been shown to reduce testosterone levels significantly which leads to muscle loss and fat gain.
Ways you Can Improve your Sleep
Stop Bringing Electronics to Bed – Watching TV or browsing the internet on your tablet or phone is a popular way to wind down before going to sleep. However, it could be impacting your sleep! The light from these electronics tricks your mind into thinking it’s daytime.
As a result you will have a harder time falling asleep. Instead, turn off all electronics an hour before sleeping so your body can wind-down properly. This will also prevent you from browsing late into the night and cutting into your sleep time. If you simply can’t give up browsing the net in bed use a program like Flux or wear orange glasses which will help block the blue light emitting from these devices.
Cut Out Stimulants – Coffee is a great stimulant to wake us up and focus better but if consumed in the evening it can impact your sleep. Cut out coffee and all other stimulants after 3PM and you will notice you have an easier time sleeping.
Alter Meal Timing – Avoid eating a large meal right before going to bed as it can boost your energy levels making it harder to fall asleep. Instead, consume a casein protein source in the evening as this will digest slowly and keep you feeling full for longer.
Have a Routine – One of the best ways to make sure you get to bed on time every night is to have a routine. Set a time where you shut off your electronics and start reading or some other sort of wind-down activity.
Next, have a set time where you shut off the lights and go to sleep. Some great wind-down activities include reading a book, relaxing or meditating. You will want to make sure there isn’t too much artificial light or noise in your bedroom.
Supplements that Help You Sleep
There are a number of supplements you can take to help you get to sleep. These include Melatonin, GABA, Magnesium or 5-HTP. One important thing to note is that you should only try 1 supplement at a time for a couple weeks to see if there is a difference.
Most people take several supplements at once and as a result they can’t tell which specific supplement is actually helping them.
Finally, if you really want to improve your fat loss progress, boost your energy, curb your appetite and perform better at the gym you should look at taking a fat-burning supplement. These products will help your metabolism run optimally and give you energy throughout the day so you can work harder at the gym.
The extra work your body will put in as a result of taking one of these supplements will make it easier for you to sleep at night as your body will be craving some sleep. A quality product won’t be cheap, but it’s a small price to pay if it helps you get the body you want.
For those that are serious about getting shredded
The summer is just around the corner and if your goal is to get shredded for the summer I suggest you start your cut immediately.
A great way to speed your cut up and get ripped faster is using a fat burning supplement with proven ingredients, see which ingredients can get you shredded fast here.
These supplements will give you crucial benefits for fat loss like:
- Higher metabolic rate, they will make your body burn more calories throughout the day.
- Surpress appetite, it will eliminate hunger cravings so you won’t be as tempted to eat junk foods.
- Increase energy, it will boost your energy levels which is especially important when training hard in the gym.
Just know that these products are not created equal and some fat burners do not work.
To see which fat burners are recommended by experts check out our guide on fat burning supplements here.
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