While staying active and eating well during the day can help you feel fit and confident, poor night time habits can halt your progress.
Whether it’s doing some prep work the night before or avoiding certain habits, there are little things you may not know that can make a world of difference in helping you achieve your fitness goals.
Going to bed relaxed and happy and getting enough shut-eye will set you up for the day ahead. In saying this, any poor habits can easily interfere with your mindset, eating habits or decision-making habits. This can cause you to become less fit and these habits can become regular with time.
So, instead of ruining your hard work in the gym and in the kitchen with sloppy evenings, we’ve pulled together a few things you should stop doing in order to stay fitter, healthier and happier.
1. Setting the alarm too early
If you’re slipping into bed past midnight and attempting to make the 6am HIIT class, you could be doing more harm than good. Sleep is crucial, and we need at least seven to nine hours of it a night in order to repair, recover and build lean muscles for workouts.
If you are been stingy with your zzz’s, you might not see the results you want from your workouts and you will find it harder to lose weight. Sleep is the priority, even if it means skipping that HIIT class the next morning.
2. Eating too late
Eating too much, too late can overwhelm your body and interfere with your digestion. This can be hard for all the workaholics out there – by the time you workout, get home, have a shower, it’s almost time to go to bed. Just remember, as long as you eat at least two hours before going to bed, you’ll be in the clear. Any later than that will mess with your body.
3. Not eating enough
Don’t go to bed hungry – it never works out. If you put your body into starvation mode, you’ll either wake up eating your own pillow or end up caving in and going on a crazy snack rampage. If you have worked out, your body needs to refuel in order to repair and regenerate.
4. Having caffeine
Caffeine can interfere with something called our circadian rhythms and natural sleep patterns, which throws your body off and results in an imbalance in hormones and increases the possibility of chronic fatigue. Instead of finishing dinner with an espresso or cappuccino, opt for decaffeinated tea or water to hydrate and calm the body, without ruining your sleeping pattern.
5. Sleeping with your phone
Whether it’s texting your BFF before you go to sleep, or having a scroll through your Facebook feed, your phone can keep you more alert and make it hard for you to go to sleep. Our bodies are easily confused by unnatural light sources, which again messes with our circadian rhythms.
Research has shown that unnatural light cycles not only can have some serious consequences not only for our sleep habits, but also our overall health as it is linked to an increased risk of depression.
6. Drinking alcohol before bed
We all enjoy the occasional glass of wine after a long day at work, and while one or two glasses early in the evening is okay, going too hard on the old merlot can have a range of negative outcomes. Not only will it interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep but it will also hold you back if you’re trying to get in shape. All those extra empty calories (eek!) can cause inflammation in the body, which leads to bloating and muscle pain. It also inhibits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from other food. To top it off, drinking is going to make your workouts the next day a whole lot harder.
7. Working out too close to bedtime
Working out late at night can effectively tire you out and help you sleep faster, but some may find that a late night sweat session may disrupt their ability to fall asleep. Plus, you are often starving after a workout, meaning you might eat too much before bed and find yourself with stomach discomfort. It is recommended that you work out two to three hours before bed for optimal results.