Sleep and it’s effects on weight/fat loss

By Jen Fullhart

Dalai Lama once said, “Sleep is the best meditation.” Ask yourself how many hours of sleep you get each night. Ask yourself what the quality of that sleep is. Now, ask yourself what your goals are. Chances are, you’re not getting enough sleep to reach your goals. Sleep allows our mind and body to fully relax and recover from everything we put ourselves through! 

Our society seems to run at a fast pace and we are often on the go. Unfortunately, the one thing we seem to sacrifice is our sleep. The less we sleep, the more time we have in our day, right?  Yes, that’s true, but if you aren’t able to reach your goals because you’re sacrificing your sleep, sleep needs to become a priority. 

There are several stages of sleep that will complete one 90 minute cycle. It’s recommended that people go through the entire sleep cycle 5 times, which means on average, we should be getting about 7.5 hours of sleep each night. The proper amount of sleep helps to regulate our hormones, and of course helps with the recovery process from exercise.  

So, how does this affect our goals for weight loss? Our bodies produce hormones that tell us when to eat (ghrelin) and when to stop eating (leptin). If we don’t get enough sleep, our leptin levels will decrease and our bodies will produce more ghrelin. As a result, we have increased feelings of hunger. No one likes to be hungry! Without enough sleep, our stomach may be full, but our brain will tell us to continue eating because of our increased ghrelin levels. Regulating our ghrelin and leptin levels through adequate sleep will help us reach our weight loss goals. Our bodies also produce cortisol which will increase our appetite if not regulated. Cortisol will store excess calories in our body as fat. Without sleep, we can’t regulate our cortisol levels, so our body is more likely to hang on to fat, burn muscle and we’ll see an increase in appetite. 

There are several micronutrients that will help aid in sleep quality. These include B Vitamins, calcium, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper and Iron. Most adults consuming primarily whole, nutrient dense foods, will be consuming an adequate amount of each of these micronutrients and there’s no need to closely track our consumption of each of these. 

So, what can we do to increase our sleep quality (other than prioritizing sleep, of course!)? Have a routine. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, eliminate caffeine consumption at least 8 hours prior to bedtime, avoid consuming alcohol three hours prior to going to bed, exercise regularly and of course, clear your mind of stress. 

Being deprived of sleep can have many negative effects on our body and may inhibit our ability to reach our goals. Set your alarm clock to go to bed! Make sleep a priority and you won’t regret it! Your body (and your mind) will thank you!

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Alex Kain

Owner / Head Coach / Personal Trainer

Alex has always been a very athletic and active person. Playing just about every sport under the sun, however he spent more time being involved in Hockey, Gymnastics, Diving and Cheerleading (the latter 3 being very similar in nature). Not only did he grow up being very active he had a very nutritiously conscientious mother who wouldn’t allow him many different kinds of foods. So he grew up with a good basis on nutrition and eating healthy. As he grew older he continued to dial in on the nutrition while working out religiously. He would often pair gymnastics type movements with traditional barbell movements when working out. Therefore when he found functional fitness back in 2010 he fell in love with it and never looked back.

Alex went on to grad school where he got a masters degree in Exercise Physiology and won back to back National Championships in cheerleading. Upon graduating he began working at Froedtert hospital in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and coaching cheerleading locally. He really enjoyed helping people improve their health but wanted to help people before they were requiring surgery and he also knew that a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition and exercise could prevent many of the issues he was treating people for. In 2008 he was offered a coaching position in New Zealand. He moved there and spent the next 6 years in New Zealand and Australia coaching New Zealand to 2 gold and 1 silver medal in the World Cheerleading Championships and Australia to 1 Silver medal. 

In 2014 he moved back to the states and that’s when he opened A1 Health and Fitness. His biggest joys are helping people reach their goals and lead healthy lives through diet and exercise. Whether it’s coaching someone to a PR lift or helping someone shed unwanted pounds or start eliminating poor food from their diet, Alex loves it all. His real passion is nutrition and helping people get off their medication, but he can work with all ages. He enjoys traveling the world, spending time with his dog Charlie and his amazing girlfriend Jen as well as family and friends. 

Certifications:

  • USAW L2
  • CrossFit L2
  • Precision Nutrition Level 1
  • WAG certified nutrition coach
  • CrossFit Kids
  • M.S. Exercise Physiology