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Is it 60% nutriton or 80% thats No.1 No its 100% sleep

Updated: Jan 24, 2020

We as an industry have talked for years in sound bites about how "you can't out train a bad diet" or "just move more and then you'll burn more and then you'll weigh less"

Very few trainers will say?? why are you eating more? why are you moving less?? why are you buggered every time I see you?? Why should they right? They are just there to shout and holler and say things like good form, protein is king, cardio is for girls. Well that has got to change. NOW

There is no doubt that nutrition and exercise are the pillars of health. But what platform do those pillars stand on??


If the foundation of sleep is corroded those pillars will tilt wobble and eventually fall over the physiology of a loss of just two hours is staggering. Killer cells switch off suppressing the immune system and cognitive function decline.

These factors result in less effective training more of the time. Over the years that alone could really add up. The brain requires sleep for learning and performance and resistance training is essentially the taxing and stressing of the Central Nervous System which is governed by the brain. So, if the brain is tired going in it make sense that your workout suffers in terms of intensity and in terms of performance. It can even lead to a degradation in synergist and stabilizing muscle contraction resulting in heightened injury risk.

Then consider the behavioural changes, the chances of you hitting the gym the next day after an interrupted sleep go down significantly and although this is seen as an excuse not to train considering the factors above it should indicate that it may often be a damn good call to take that rest and focus on good food at the right time and follow that up with a good sleep.

Another major consideration for body goals is dietary adherence and it has been shown in studies that there is definitive correlation between; adherence to any eating protocol, success in a diet regime, and succes in any training regimen with sleep

I.e. if you sleep right you eat right (whatever that is for you at the time)

“From a metabolic-perspective, the sleep-restricted participants had lost their hunger control. By limiting these individuals to what some in our society would think of as ‘sufficient’ amount of sleep (five hours of sleep a night), Van Cauter had caused a profound imbalance in the scales of hormonal food desire. By muting the chemical message that says, ‘stop eating’ (leptin), yet increasing the hormonal voice that shouts ‘please, keep eating’ (ghrelin), your appetite remains unsatisfied when your sleep is anything less than plentiful, even after a kingly meal.” Matt Walker

Physiological cues for this behaviour manifest for several reasons. Two well studied hormones that influence such behaviours are the hormones Ghrelin and Leptin. Two key hormones in your endocrine system that regulate hunger and fullness respectively. Ghrelin is released prior to a meal and is designed to prime the body for calorie absorption but in the absence of quality substantial sleep its function becomes irregular and it is released in larger amounts that ultimately increase our appetite. Conversely leptin the feel full hormone is subsequently failing to be produced in the usual levels our body is used to and as result we don’t even fill as full when we attempt to satisfy that deep hunger.

So awesome long words physiology but what practical tools do we have to help

1. Light exposure - screen time blue light and the emergence of electricity some 200 years ago are known getting their recognition as huge influencers on the state of human health. Invest in some blue light filter glasses and set your iPhone on to natural light mode. Also ensure you wind down from false light source exposure as much as possible as early as possible. 9pm chill in low light and get off your phone.

2. Eating pattern - Whaaaaaaat??!! Is its true eating affects your sleep? how many people do you know eat a big meal at night and then the say that curry kept me up last night or damn I was out last night after that meal and my sleep was real average. I had the meat sweats. You may have even done it yourself. Well some cutting-edge science has shown a link between early eating and weight loss and has then gone on to show a correlation between circadian rhythm interruption and major health implications. (The info on this is vast and complex I have included a power point in my education page to explain the complexities further click here to investigate under Chronobiology.

3. Regularity - this one is simple tool, use regularity to prepare your body for all aspects of your life. A body that sleeps at the same time and wants to eat at the same times sleeps at the same time and eats at the same time. It's chicken and egg but commit to a schedule that’s appropriate to you as an individual and then stick to it.

4. Room temperature - make sure your room is cool as the body requires a drop-in core temp of around 3 degrees Fahrenheit to get into REM sleep (factors like food consumption have a strong indirect link here think about thermogenic food effect) REM is the only state of sleep we can stack so it's importance to health cannot be underestimated. Bear in mind sedatives do not allow REM to take place another key fact to self-optimisation

There’s a great starter for you on sleep hygiene.

There is one overarching theme that occurs in health that sometimes people underestimate the rhythm of the human body the need to establish one and use it as a tool to create habits or reflexes that allows us to stay productive or on point. The rhythm is individual, and it is possible to find out through certain tests what’s unique about your rhythm. this is controlled by genetics and recent scientific pioneering has discovered the Clock and Bmal genes. These genes provide a blueprint for our internal clocks to be governed by. However, we have several clocks at play and if we ignore factors like the ones listed above we ignore some powerful players in our wellness and even our superhuman capacities we barely believe we have. To find out more about these clocks go to the education page and there is more in-depth discussion of how unique genes determine our optimal sleeping eating and activity patterns or what we refer to as Chronobiology.

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