Sleep is a wonderful thing. It’s no secret: a full night’s rest tops the list of elusive pleasures for most new moms. Where seven, eight or nine hours may have been the norm, five consecutive hours could now be a delight.
Knocking off early or sleeping in late sounds like a dream, right? Actually it’s more than a dream. For we mamas trying to improve fitness and drop pounds, a good sound slumber can be a dream come true!
The human body is a miraculous creation. Can I get an amen?! While we sleep our bodies are still hard at work repairing, replenishing, and lots of other neat stuff. There are processes happening overnight that specifically affect weight loss like muscle building and appetite regulation. Research has shown that inadequate sleep can hinder weight loss efforts. Conversely, proper sleep patterns help the cause. I chose a communications major over kinesiology so my biology lesson ends there, sorry!
You don’t need a science degree to understand that sleep and fitness share a reciprocal relationship. Being fit can help you sleep better. Being rested can help you perform better – in the gym and otherwise. And so you’ll hear trainers refer to sleep as an overlooked part of fitness.
Knowing this, you’d think I’d be catching zees whenever possible. “Sleep when baby sleeps” everyone says. Not me. Unless I’m totally zonked, I use nap time to eat, pump milk, clean, email, etc. Take now for instance. Naomi is in dreamland as I type. Darn, probably just jinxed it! LOL.
Nighttime is even worse. I’m often up writing well past midnight praying baby won’t need a surprise overnight feeding when I finally do turn in. A few hours later, I’m up for the regular routine of feedings, changes and play before going to the gym.
I know better. I am vowing here and now to make this lifestyle change for the sake of my fitness efforts. And the dark circles under my eyes. It would suck to be holding onto extra weight months from now simply because I wouldn’t get a good night’s sleep. Plus there’s all the other benefits of sleep that are especially great for new moms. The blowouts are easier to deal with when you’re not dead tired, right? Yep, sleep is a wonderful thing. If Naomi will give me seven hours, I’ll take them!
Once baby is down, what’s your next move? Bed? Kitchen? Computer?
GOOD TO KNOW: Weekly fitness programs should include rest days to allow for proper recovery.