CHALLENGE 4: Add sleep to your holistic weight management plan
Regular exercise and healthy eating are habits you probably already know are important to achieve your weight-loss goals. But did you know getting sleep is also very important?
When you get less than 6–8 hours of sleep, your efforts to “eat healthy” and exercise can make your body less effective at burning fat and building muscle. Also, sleep deprivation makes you feel hungrier, less full after a meal, more likely to give in to eating the treats you’re trying to avoid, and less likely to maintain your workout routine. Sleep is critical to your health, well-being, and weight loss!
When you’re getting ready to work out, the idea of sleeping might seem easy (or even a fantasy). In reality getting 8 hours a night can be harder than it seems. Many active-duty Warfighters report getting only 6 or less hours of sleep a night. This challenge will help you monitor your sleep to determine if you’re getting enough sleep—and if not, what you can do to improve. To begin, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you productive, healthy, and happy on 7 hours of sleep? Or does it take you more hours of quality sleep to get you into high gear?
- Are you having sleep problems?
- Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
- Do you feel sleepy when driving?
Next, learn about more ways sleep can impact your performance and get tips to help you sleep better. Take a deeper dive by learning about 10 sleep habits to help you lose weight, how foods can help or harm sleep, and the impact of exercise on sleep and weight loss.
After building your sleep knowledge, begin tracking your sleep using the sleep diary. This will help you notice sleep-related habits that might help or get in the way of getting restful sleep. Try to apply the strategies learned to get 7–8 hours of restful sleep each night.
TASKS to achieve Challenge 4:
- What’s the “weight” of poor sleep?
- Learn 10 sleep habits to help you lose weight.
- Find out how sleep impacts performance.
- Do your eating habits keep you awake?
- Keep a 10-day sleep diary to find out where you might improve.
- Understand the connections between sleep, exercise, and weight.
Additional resources: Challenge 4
Find more resources on how to optimize your sleep.
Bed partners, sleep habits, and the path to sweet dreams
Caffeine for performance
How can naps improve my performance?
Make sleep-bank "deposits"
Shifts happen: Managing your sleep with irregular work schedules
A PDF version of the full Get into Fighting Weight: A Total Force Fitness Guide (PDF) is available for download.