Twinlab Fuel, Muscle, Endurance, Recovery, Sexual Health, Weight Management

Sleep and Exercise

By Thane Slagowski, Vice President, Product Development & Quality for Twinlab.

I am a great believer in the power of exercise to help you sleep better; the better you sleep the more energy you will have for exercise.

You can learn a lot about energy and sleep by observing nature. I have a hyperactive puppy (a French bulldog named Yoda) who loves to chew on socks and is often caught stealing flip flops. To protect my family’s shoes and socks from doggy slobber, we take him on a walk each day. After the walk, Yoda is mellow and goes out like a light. In parallel, I doubt construction workers have a hard time falling asleep. Why not apply this same principle to your sleep and exercise routines?

Sleep can be the perfect supplement to your exercise routine. Research shows that the release of growth hormones peaks during deep sleep, while at the same time blood flow to muscles increases and your metabolic rate slows. All this is the perfect formula for the repair and growth of muscle tissue. 1

From personal experience, you’ve probably seen many of the other benefits of a good sleep routine, including mood stabilization and increased learning and memory functions. Leptin, an appetite-regulating hormone, is also directly influenced by your sleep routine. You may have a bigger appetite if you don’t get enough sleep, because leptin levels drop and increase appetite.2

Suffer from insomnia? Studies indicate that exercise—especially morning exercise—will help you sleep better.3 An hour of stretching and walking daily can help relieve many sleep problems that often stem from the stresses of regular life.

Exercise at least four hours a week and remember that any exercise is better than none, regardless of the time of day. You should note, though, that exercising right before heading to bed can lead to difficulty sleeping. It is recommended that you exercise at least three hours before going to bed, to give your body enough time to cool off. A lowered body temperature is needed for sleep onset. In order to support vigorous exercise, a positive energy balance from sleep is critical.4

So remember, to help your mind and body regenerate, reduce stress, be more alert and reach your fitness goals, get at least six to seven hours of sleep each night.

1. McManus, Mark. “How to Sleep Your Way to Big Muscles.” Retrieved December 10, 2008, from http://www.musclehack.com/how-to-sleep-your-way-to-big-muscles/
2. Plotnick, Rachel. “Diet, Exercise, Sleep! The Path to a Healthier Lifestyle.” National Sleep Association. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from http://sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/diet-exercise-and-sleep
3. American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2008, June 12). Moderate Exercise Can Improve Sleep Quality Of Insomnia Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 4, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080611071129.htm
4. Ibid.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The chocolate chip cookies of our childhood are not really the best choice for grownups: They're loaded with fat, in the form of butter, chocolate, and nuts, and a lot of that is saturated fat. But there's nothing really like them . . . or is there? This recipe contains much less fat (some of it olive oil, rather than butter). Oats adds satisfying texture (and heart-healthy soluble fiber) while soy nuts, which taste like roasted peanuts, supply beneficial isoflavones. So the cookies are still a treat, but a guilt-free one.

Tandoori-Style Turkey Cutlets

In Indian cuisine, tandoori-style dishes are those that have been baked in a high-heat clay oven called a tandoor. The dishes also traditionally include marinating the food first in a spiced yogurt sauce. A regular Western oven at a high temperature has to substitute for the authentic tandoor, but the marination is the same. If you like spicy food, choose a hot curry powder.

Broiled Tuna Burgers

While tuna burgers are often made by combining tuna with breadcrumbs, we’ve used heart-healthy oats instead. The sun-dried tomato “bits” can be found in many supermarkets. If all you can find are whole sun-dried tomato halves, choose soft, tender tomatoes and cut them into bits with a pair of scissors or a knife.

Tri-Berry Salad

This elevates the fruit salad to new heights. Serve it as an opener to a meal, or after the main course, European-style. It could even be a simple fruit dessert.

Fresh Fruit Gelatin

Between the fresh orange juice, sliced fresh strawberries, and canned mandarins, this light, refreshing dessert has heaps of vitamin C.

Fettuccine with Burdock & Peas

The combination of burdock and peas is reminiscent of a dish done with artichokes. If you like, serve with freshly grated Parmesan for sprinkling. As you cut the burdock, drop it into a bowl of cold water with a little lemon juice or vinegar to keep the burdock from discoloring.

Garlic-Basil Italian Beans

Storebought pesto is a great ingredient to keep around for an easy boost to the flavor of pasta sauces, soups, stews, mashed potatoes, salad dressings, or a vegetable side dish such as these Italian beans. Although storebought versions of this delicious basil, cheese, and garlic sauce are no lightweights in the fat department, just 1 tablespoon will make a significant flavor contribution to a dish.

Tomato-Vegetable Chowder

Here’s a really sneaky way to take a canned soup and turn it into a luscious, creamy chowder: Just add some instant mashed potato flakes and frozen vegetables. The potatoes thicken the soup without adding any fat, and the vegetables provide the chunky chowder-like texture. The lemon zest and tarragon give a fresh, herbal flavor to the canned soup. The whole thing shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to pull together. Serve the chowder with whole-grain toast and a tossed green salad.

Sesame-Ginger Tofu

Pass the toothpicks and serve these as you would cubes of cheese. The citrusy soy marinade gets absorbed halfway up the tofu for an interesting contrast in flavors.