You are crushing your ab workout. You’re eating right. In fact, you are doing everything right, but you aren’t seeing the results you should.

What’s going on? It used to be a lot easier than it is right now. Instead of trying to blame the unknown on Father Time, you take an inventory of your schedule. Aha! That’s it!

You’re putting in longer hours at work to get the promotion you’ve been gunning for. Your kids got accepted to play for the elite soccer team. Hurray! But you’ve been driving them all over the state. On and on and on. You have stretched yourself so thin that you’ve cut into your sleep.

Sleep. We all need it. It’s one thing some of us start shaving off to get more done. Doing this is counterproductive and has potentially long term negative affects.

Here are some of the things that have been linked to not getting enough sleep:

  • Higher risk of automobile accidents (Duh!)
  • Obesity due to an increase in appetite cause by sleep deprivation
  • Higher risk of heart problems and diabetes
  • May increase risk of depression
  • etc…

But here’s another: You body does much of the healing to repair the damage you do to it every day while you sleep. When you are getting enough sleep, your body has less time to heal itself and you find very quickly a downward spiral that isn’t easy to recover from quickly.

Keep in mind the idea of resistance training is to break down muscle tissue. The magic happens when it is repaired. You need the sleep to facilitate this process.

So how much is enough? That really depends on you, but most experts agree that 7.5 to 8 hours is the norm. I know some people that claim they can function on 5 hours of sleep per night. I have spend many days with them and can tell you if it weren’t for gallons of Starbucks lattes they wouldn’t be able to function.

And that’s another thing… If you find you need some substance to wake up or stay awake, you need more sleep. I don’t drink coffee so I’m not very sympathetic, I admit. But when I don’t get enough sleep I am very motivated not to repeat a short night’s sleep any time soon.

Some people have a hard time getting to sleep at night and create their sleep deficit because they lay awake in bed. Here are some tips for you to get to sleep when it’s bed time:

  • No caffeine 6 hours before bed time. (Very often this will end Restless Leg Syndrome)
  • Don’t eat for 4 hours before bed time.
  • Stop drinking water at least 30 mins. before bedtime to avoid interrupted sleep.
  • Don’t workout before bedtime. Your metabolism is raging.
  • No video games, loud music, or exciting t.v. before bed.

If you are still having problems, try Melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone your body produces that makes you want to sleep. The older we get, the less our bodies produce. You can purchase Melatonin at most supplement stores.

You may also want to see your doctor or naturopath if the problem persists. Don’t get caught in the medication trap. Taking meds to make you sleep is a slippery slope (can anyone say HIGHLY ADDICTING?!) that can catch up and cause other problems. It’s best not to start down that path unless your doctor has eliminated all other alternatives.

It’s a good idea to plan ahead and schedule bed time and make that time sacred. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you aren’t at your best and everything else falls apart – the very least of which is your ab workout!

To you Health and Success!

David