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A New Health Formula: Diet+Exercise+Sleep=Fitness

Man using cellphone in bed

How many hours of sleep do you get each night? New studies indicate your answer may be directly proportional to how fit you are. Whether your fitness routine is at a gym in a class or in your living room on a mat in front of a good exercise video in your living room, your health is inextricably linked to a well-balanced formula of diet, exercise, and sleep. As thriving members of the Information Age, we don't like to think technology plays any negative role in our lives, but when it comes to getting good quality sleep, the screen can be the biggest obstacle to plenty of z's. According to a July, 2013 article in Medical Daily, the light emitted by laptops, phones, and other backlit devices teaches our brains that it's still daylight, time to be awake and alert. And many of us take these portable devices to bed with us to watch an episode or read an e-book. We're training ourselves to associate bed with daytime levels of productivity. Bad news for the circadian rhythm. Eventually, our sleep patterns are disrupted and our bodies produce less melatonin, which is actually produced in the absence of light and which helps keep our sleep patterns normal. Vicious cycle, anyone?

We've always known that diet and exercise are important to health, and we can be fiends about these things! So why are we so hesitant to give up the electronics an hour before bed if it would mean better sleep, better performance, and better fitness? A report in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (Northwestern University) clearly states there's a strong relationship between the quality of your sleep and your ability to exercise effectively the next day! Get a good night's sleep and you'll be able to work out longer and get better results. It's a no-brainer, yet we're reluctant to put those electronics down! In fact, they're even integral to some of our workouts!

Suggestion? Grab a good solid workout mat, maybe even install some thick EVA mats in your home workout space and get your workout in every day.  If you're one of the millions of Americans who has trouble sleeping, try turning off the electronics an hour before bedtime and see if it makes a difference in the quality of your workout. We're betting it does - good luck!

 

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