This week the BUF Girls in Bondi introduced me to the work of qualified sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo. Although the title of this blog sounds a little cray cray, I promise Olivia’s not peddling some weird and unethical weight loss product. The claim in the title of this blog comes from real data collected about a sustainable and healthy approach to optimising body shape. So what’s the secret? Here’s what Olivia has to say…
What if I told you that you could lose 55% more body fat with one simple strategy? And it isn’t painful, restrictive, or involving any crazy eating habits. In fact, all you’d have to do is sleep for a minimum of 8 hours, every single night.
Scientists recently completed a study where groups of people ate identical diets, moved their bodies comparably and lived in similar environments, and were told to sleep a certain number of hours per night, with their weight loss efforts tracked over time.
It turns out the subjects who slept for 8.5 hours per night improved their fat loss efforts by no less than 55% more than the 5.5 hour group.
Not only is that an incredible result in terms of body shape, but it’s also an incredible indicator that your health is markedly better too. You see, weight loss happens naturally when your body is relaxed and healthy, working efficiently, effectively absorbing all the nutrients you’re putting into it and able to easily regulate metabolism.
I’m a qualified sleep specialist and I’ve been peddling the healthy sleep message for years, but to be honest the incredible results of this study have even shocked me!
I know you, like most of us, are probably busy doing 10,000 things each day and trying to keep your health and energy in check at the same time, maybe trying to tone up a bit for summer too, so to know that simply by sleeping you’re going to make it 55% easier for yourself to feel and look your best, that’s a big win for time poor individuals (self included).
However, from working with hundreds of clients to improve their sleep and wellbeing, I am well aware many of us, with so much on our minds and in our schedules, find it difficult to sleep for this long, so I thought I’d help you out a bit.
Here are my top 5 tips for sleeping well – and in the process, boosting your energy and leaning out your beautiful body, just in time for summer
Create a healthy sleep space
First things first – how is your mattress, do you have access to a fan, are you sleeping on a comfortable pillow and natural fibre (cotton/linen/wool) bedding? A recent study by my partners Sealy Posturepedic found that 41% of women wake up during the night due to uncomfortable temperatures. Getting your sleep setting right is the first step to the perfect snooze.
Limit blue light from ALL sources
Research shows exposure to blue light from room lights (not just devices like your iPhone!!) delays feelings of sleepiness by around 90 minutes. NINETY! Given that basically all of us use a light of some sort in the evenings, it’s imperative to modulate your exposure, and if you’re someone who struggles with easily falling asleep, then an easy way to remedy this can be to pop on a pair of blue light blocking sunglasses. Biochemically, seeing light suppresses the hormone that makes you sleepy, so modern electricity makes it tough for us to get our Z’s. Of course TV, phones, laptops, and other devices you might be, erm, addicted to, all emit these blue lights too so you need to protect yourself by shutting them off at least an hour before bedtime – otherwise quite simply, you aren’t going to be ready for sleep.
Respect your need for sleep
Adjusting the way you think of sleep is also key – these days society tends to celebrate anyone who can neglect sleep and still get through. However, realising the significant health consequences of sleep deprivation – including weight gain, impaired brain function, links to cancer, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes (and if you don’t believe me, have a read of this article), this needs to change. And if getting healthier isn’t enough motivation, it turns out insufficient sleep also blunts happiness hormones, which is why you often feel flat and fatigued after a bad night’s sleep – you literally have no emotional energy to churn through. So whether it’s mental or physical health you’re trying to improve, sleep is imperative and should not be neglected.
Find an accountability partner
Ever noticed that when you pre-sign up for your 5:45am workout classes, more often than not you’ll actually show up, versus if you just set an alarm to train solo at 5:45am and the snooze button becomes way too tempting? It’s because you’ve committed, not just to yourself but to others. Yep. Accountability is the key to success. After you’ve read this and decided to improve your sleep starting today, forward this link to someone you care about and have them commit to optimising their sleep too. Give yourself a one-week timeframe and check back in on each others’ progress and how you’re both feeling. Support each other, celebrate wins and overcome challenges. Alternatively, reach out to me via email and I’ll happily be your support pal.
So there you have it, four simple tips for improving your sleep, which you can implement today! Remember, it will help to intentionally set the time you want to head to bed, and start getting ready with enough time to consciously make that happen!
Note the study I mentioned in the opening paragraph had participants sleep for 8.5 hours, starting with 14 days in a row, so that’s the goal timeframe to start with.
Enjoy all those good sleep feels and I look forward to hearing about it if you experience some great results!