Two-thirds of British men have trouble sleeping, according to researchers at King’s College London. That’s a nightmarish scenario for your weight-loss ambitions.
Insufficient sleep won’t just short-circuit your hormones and increase your junk food cravings; it’ll push your body into an anaerobic state more quickly when you exercise – that’s the burnout point at which your oxygen demands exceed the supply. By forcing you to train anaerobically, poor sleep prevents you from running as far in your cardio sessions, or pushing as hard in the weights room. Your calorie-burning potential is dampened.
Thankfully, sleep scientists have found an eye-opening solution. In a study published in the Japanese Circulation Journal, they demonstrated that a simple magnesium supplement can negate the effects of a sleepless night on physical performance. When a group of sleep-deprived students were challenged to pedal on a watt bike, the scientists found that those given 100mg of magnesium were unaffected by a lack of shut-eye. Both their oxygen uptake and endurance were restored, so they could train as hard as their well-rested peers. Magnesium boosts the concentration of noradrenalin in your system, causing your heart to pump oxygenated blood to your muscles at an increased rate.
Studies have also linked magnesium levels to better rest. Iranian researchers have shown that a daily dose improved sleep quality and duration among insomniacs. So, magnesium not only offsets the detrimental effects of poor sleep – it rectifies the problem at its source. A supp to make you hit the gym and the pillow harder? It’s worth a pop.
How to Beat a Sleepless Night
Use these science-backed tips to ensure you get out of bed on the right side
Get your morning news briefing on your phone. Its blue light will tell your brain to stop producing sleep-promoting melatonin.
Top your scrambled eggs with Tabasco. The eggs’ protein and amino acids feed your brain, while the sauce’s heat interrupts sleep signals.
Step outside for a jog or cycle. Cardio boosts alertness more than other forms of exercise, while sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
Exfoliate during your post-workout shower. You’ll increase microcirculation and bring oxygen to your skin, making you look less tired.
Full of Beans
Caffeine at this time? Bad idea. Instead, keep coffee beans in your drawer. Studies show that just the aroma is enough to make you feel more awake.
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