Question: “Do sleep habits and stress really affect nutrition?”
Answer: Yes but…effects vary from person to person, as do the best sleep and stress management strategies.
Nutrition and body composition is not just about what food you eat and don’t eat. As our clients embark on their new nutrition programs, they will learn a lot about how what they eat is less important than a consistent combination of other factors like their quality of recovery and stress management.
Sleep is equally as important as nutrition and exercise when it comes to improving your health, performance, and body composition.
Strategies that improve sleep include:
- creating a sleep routine
- having a regular sleep schedule.
- limiting alcohol and caffeine, especially in the afternoon/evening.
- choosing de-stressing activities before bed.
- setting an appropriate room temperature for sleep.
- making the room dark.
- keeping the room quiet.
- waking up appropriately, with light exposure and soft noise.
As for stress, it’s all about finding the right balance. Too much stress, or the wrong kind, can harm our health. Stress can be a positive force in our lives, it can help to keep us focused, alert, and at the top of our game.
It all depends on what kind of stress it is, how prepared we are to meet it—and how we view it.
Since stress affects the mind, body, and behavior in many ways, everyone experiences stress differently. Each of us has a unique “recovery zone,” whether that’s physical or psychological, and our recovery zone depends on several factors.
It is critical to try out different strategies and skills to view and handle your own stress load appropriately. Some strategies that increase stress tolerance or diminish stress load include:
- Meditation or yoga
- Outdoor time
- Snuggling a pet
- Listening to relaxing music
- Deep breathing
- Drinking green tea
If you find yourself suffering from poor sleep or the wrong kind of stress check out these two precision nutrition articles:
- Hacking sleep: Engineering a high quality, restful night
- Good stress, bad stress: Finding your sweet spot. [Article + infographic]
Credit: By John Berardi and Brian St. Pierre