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Get Enough Sleep and Stop Getting Up Early to Work Out!

By Melissa Pharr

Well I’m no sleep doctor, but Dr. Maas, author of ” Sleep For Success”, sure knows his stuff on the topic. I’d like to share him with you today. Below I’ve added a few facts of his and a few of my own. In addition, I’ve attached an interview with Dr. Maas at the bottom of this email that was sent to me by one of my extraordinary clients.

I think one of the key things Dr. Maas tells us is that sleep is, “not a luxury, it’s a necessity.” Think you’re someone who doesn’t need much? Think again. You may believe you’re getting adequate sleep, but it turns out most of us are getting about 1 hour less than we think and the majority of Americans are sleep-deprived.

Here are a couple of things you should know about sleep:

  • Adequate sleep allows you to burn excess body fat
  • Not enough sleep will make you gain weight
  • After 7 hours of sleep (into the 8th hour) your brain makes all kinds of connections that allow your body and mind to function at a higher level during the day
  • During your last hours of adequate sleep (again, you must get past the 7th hour) your body begins a natural fat burning session
  • According to Dr. Maas, sleep is the best predictor of how long you’re going to live
  • Inadequate sleep significantly increases your risk of Cancer, Type II Diabetes, Obesity, and many other degenerative diseases

For all of you noble, early morning exercisers. I’ve said it before, but with this topic, once is never enough. If you’re getting up early to work out, especially if you’re performing high intensity exercise, you’re much better off going back to bed. In addition to the benefits that I’ve already listed above, there are other reasons to play smart when it comes to scheduling your work out at certain times during the day.

During Tip #1, I wrote about exercise as either an added stress OR stress relief. Obviously, we favor the latter. Dr. Maas says in his interview that 12pm or 5pm-7pm is the best time to work out for several reasons. I’d like to highlight an additional incentive that is extremely important… Cortisol and Adrenaline levels are naturally higher in the morning, causing exercise to more easily be an added stress than stress relief. These adrenal levels are lower in the middle of the day and early evening, plus you’re not sacrificing your sleep!

Are you making the same excuse we’ve all hear 100 million times?
“I have too much to do, and I don’t have enough time.” I used to rack my brain miserably for hours just trying to finish a project so I could cross it off my list and feel productive. It was always a short lived feeling of accomplishment, and by that time I usually felt like shit, pardon my language, and had something new on my to do list. The end result of my work was so-so. I’ve found that if I allow myself down time and get adequate sleep, everything I do is higher quality and takes about a quarter of the time. That’s a lot of freed up time. Oh, and the people I’m around like me better, too, so there’s that. 🙂

“I can sleep when I’m dead.” I hope you read the facts above. Sleep is the best predictor of how long you’ll live. It’s up to you. You can live longer and feel alive OR you can live a shorter life and feel like a zombie. 

“I can’t, I sleep poorly and can’t make it through 8 hours.” I feel your pain. Lots of us have had circumstances that keep us from getting good shut eye so I’ve provided you with a few helpful hints below. ANYONE can significantly improve their sleep, except maybe those with an infant, in which case you might try napping when possible.

What can you do to better your sleep situation?

  • Give up TV a half hour to an hour before bed
  • Leave your phone alone before bed. Seriously.
  • Acknowledge the fact that electronics before bed decrease your chances of falling asleep easily and getting high quality sleep throughout the night
  • Stop staying up late. It decreases your natural melatonin levels
  • Create a quiet, dark, and cool sleeping environment
  • Take a bath before bed
  • Don’t eat a ton before bed
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine

So let’s check in! How is your weekly workout schedule going? Are you 2:1-ing it? Remember, I’m happy to coach your through these tips via email so take advantage! We’re already on Tip #2 so let’s get down to business. There’s always enough time for the things that really matter and YOU’RE one of those things. When you take care of yourself your light shines brightest, benefiting not only you, but the rest of the world.


Melissa Pharr is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Performance Enhancement Specialist, and Corrective Exercise Specialist. She climbed to the top of the ladder as a Professional Trainer and shortly after to an upper level management position before leaving Corporate America. At the age of 25 she begin her own home-based business and decided to test her skills as an entrepreneur. Melissa is the founder and owner of The Ultimate You. Her passion is helping Entrepreneurs and Leaders who lead busy lives and are frustrated with their bodies to find a smarter, not harder way to balance their health.

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