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Here’s Why You Should Never Skip Your Sleep On Weekends

Here’s Why You Should Never Skip Your Sleep On Weekends

After putting on a professional face for five days and 40 hours, many people use the weekend as a time to break free from routine and relax. Although you definitely deserve some downtime, relaxation for many people means late nights out, bar hopping, or even just indulging in movie marathons with friends and family that last far past midnight. You should look after your mental health, but getting enough sleep and following your normal sleep cycle are part of it.

Everyone is familiar with the short-term side effects of not getting enough sleep— temporary memory loss, impaired brain function, a bad mood you just can’t shake. After reading this article, you will never skip your sleep on weekends. Continue reading to understand why researchers say you should definitely get enough sleep on the weekends.

1. You’ll be happier

Sleep is important in regulating your mood, so you feel positive and don’t overreact. Studies show a lack of sleep affects serotonin levels in the brain, which helps keep you on an even keel. If you don’t get enough shut-eye, you may be more likely to lash out.

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2. You’ll learn and remember better

Although scientists are still unraveling the link between sleep and learning, hundreds of studies show sleep is important to encode memories for the long term, and one study even showed power napping for 45 to 60 minutes increased learning and retention fivefold.

3. Increase your attention

If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re so prone to driving accidents you might as well have drunk a bunch of alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 100,000 crashes each year come from a lack of sleep.

4. Up your sex drive

Studies show men produce testosterone when they’re sleeping, which is important in sexual functioning, but getting about 5 hours of sleep each night for a week decreased testosterone levels by 15 percent. Sleep is important to regulate hormones in general, so getting less than you need will affect their levels.

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5. Reduce your risk for metabolic syndrome

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, poor sleep increases your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. This is definitely a reason to go to bed when you feel sleepy.

6. Amp up your energy

Stop relying on caffeine and use the most natural source of energy – sleep. If you get enough sleep and go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, you’ll be getting all the energy you need to function.

7. Look better

Ever heard someone say “you look tired”? When you don’t get enough sleep, it shows. A study in the journal Sleep showed people who didn’t get enough had redder, baggier eyes, more fine lines and wrinkles, were paler, and just looked, well, tired.

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How you sleep on weekends is just as important – getting 8 hours of sleep if you go to bed at 4:00 AM won’t give you the same benefits as going to bed at 10:00 PM.

8. You’re more likely to indulge when you go to bed late

The Daily Mail reported that people who go to bed after 11 PM are more likely to eat unhealthy snacks and drink alcohol, which translates to an increase in over 200 calories compared to those who go to bed before 11 PM.

9. If you eat late, sleep late, and wake up late, you may gain more weight

In one study, those who ate after 8 PM, went to bed around 3:45 AM, and woke up around 10:45 AM had higher BMIs, the National Sleep Foundation warns.

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You also can’t sleep in to “catch-up” on sleep. If you didn’t get enough sleep during the week, sleeping in might be more harmful than helpful. Studies show the best way to make up for lost sleep is just to follow your sleep schedule and circadian rhythm.

So, give your body what it needs this weekend — a much-needed rest.

Featured photo credit: nomao saeki via unsplash.com

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Evlin Symon

Evlin Symon is a health and wellness expert specialized in fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition and beauty.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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