Blogger Alice Liveing, otherwise known as Clean Eating Alice lets us in on a few sleepy secrets...

Personal trainer and serious fitspo Alice Liveing, AKA Clean Eating Alice speaks to Now about the power of sleep…

‘When starting out on a fitness or health kick, we often focus solely on our training, or diet, or perhaps a combination of the two. However, how many of you also take into account your recovery from increased physical activity and changes in eating habits? In addition to physical conditioning and quality of diet, sleep plays a major role in athletic performance, and understanding it’s importance is key to really getting the most out of your training.

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During exercise we become depleted in energy and fluids and we go through a process of our muscle breaking down, which the body then needs to actively repair. Adequate rest between your workouts, and good quality sleep will ensure you’re providing your body with the best environment in which it can recover, post workout. In general, one or two nights of poor sleep probably won’t affect you too much, but consistent lack of good quality sleep has also been shown to decrease the bodies production of glycogen, which is the energy we store in our muscles  used during exercise, proving that less sleep can cause you to fatigue quicker, experience general lethargy and also a decrease in cognitive function. In addition to this, studies have shown that poor sleep has also been linked to increases in the bodies stress hormone cortisol, which can further impair recovery.

So in short, don’t overlook the power of good quality sleep to help your body to rest and recover when exercising’

sleep GIF

Try Alice’s simple tips…

  1. Avoid using electrical items such as your phone or watching TV right before bed
  2. Ensure you’re sleeping in a calm and quiet environment.
  3. Many of us are  guilty of overdoing it on the caffeine which can disrupt sleep, so try and cut down if you find you’re struggling to nod off.  This includes coffee, tea and chocolate.
  4. Make sure your diet is supporting your training and that you’re keeping well hydrated too.
  5. Eat some oats before bed. Thse are slow release carbohydrates which help release sleep hormones.
  6. Avoid any food that is  too sugar loaded – this will cause a spike in blood sugar which will then drop dramatically when you sleep which can wake you up.