A lot has been said and written on the importance of a good night’s sleep. However, what people don’t know is that a bad night’s sleep makes you fat. A less than six hours night’s sleep disturbs the level of two hormones, with a decisive role for your appetite: ghrelin and leptin.

People who have a short night’s sleep, have much higher concentrations of appetizing grelin in their blood. Furthermore, the level of the hunger suppressing leptin has lowered. Lack of sleep thus causes more hunger and hunger that furthermore is harder to satisfy. Research shows that people who sleep little or bad have on average a higher BMI.

The following tips will help you to improve your sleep:

  • Make sure you have a regular sleeping rhythm of 7 to 8 hours per night. Go to bed at the same time every day, and get up at the same time. Continue to do so even during the weekend. Catching up on sleep will affect your internal clock. People working in shifts are also recommended to find as much as possible a regular rhythm in the working schedule.
  • A daily 30 minutes exercise or sport activity will improve the sleeping quality. However, don’t do this just before you go to sleep, but stop sporting intensively at least 2 hours before going to bed.
  • Have a critical look on what you have done during the evening. Is it really necessary to still answer these work-related e-mails or to read that report? Leave your work at the workplace and try to get some rest during the evening.
  • Cafeine coming from coffee, black tea, coca-cola and energy drink will keep you awake. Avoid them if you have difficulties falling asleep.
  • Do not eat heavy meals containing proteins and fats up to 3 hours before going to sleep. Your stomach is fully working until that time. If you do want to eat something, take a small portion containing many carbohydrates such as a wholemeal cracker, a handful of nuts or a banana.
  • Close your screens one hour before going to sleep and do not take them with you in the bedroom. Perform a relaxing activity and get yourself prepared for the night.
  • At about 10.30 p.m. your body will get it highest temperature. After that, the cooling starts, causing the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Do you want to increase this effect? Then take a hot shower 90 minutes before going to sleep, after which your body will cool down even harder and you will get sleepy sooner.
  • Go to the toilet during your sleeping ritual. Don’t drink anything one hour before going to sleep, in order to minimize urinating during the night. Do know that alcohol may help to fall asleep, but it will also wake you sooner and it will definitely disrupt the quality of your sleep. One glass of wine during dinner is fine, but do avoid drinking alcohol before going to bed.
  • Do you smoke? Try to limit it at night. Nicotin has a stimulating effect.
  • The ideal bedroom has a temperature between 18 and 22 degrees C, is well ventilated and calm. Make sure you have a comfortable bed and pillow at the size of your sleeping position. Keep the interior sober so that you do not get distracted when falling asleep.
  • Do you spend a lot of time lying awake at night? Get out of your bed after 30 minutes and perform a sleep-inducing activity. Think of folding the laundry, solving a sudoku, reading, knitting. Once you start feeling tired, return to your bed.
  • Sunlight wakes you and makes you alert. Make sure you go outside for a while in the morning or have your breakfast close to the window.

10 tips for the second test:

  1. Make sure that during the week prior to the effort you do something more and train a bit more intensively than you usually do. Of course, do not overdo.
  2. Try to do a bit less the week before the training, but do continue to move. After all, rest makes you rust.
  3. Do not perform any demanding physical efforts 48 hours before the test. 
  4. Make sure you have had sufficient sleep.
  5. Do not have a heavy meal minimum 2 hours before your test. Do not starve yourself but try to avoid eating too much, resulting in a heavy stomach.
  6. Make sure you drink enough water, in particular in hot weather conditions. 2% of fluid loss results in 10% performance loss in a lot of people. Dehydration is also one of many common reasons of muscle spams.
  7. Do not drink caffeinated drinks prior to your measuring.
  8. Alcohol and other drugs are obviously not allowed.
  9. To stop smoking increases the oxygen intake (more breath, more energy, …) and insures a better blood circulation (less heavy legs, …). The sooner you stop, the greater the effect will be. This effect will start very soon. However, if this is really difficult, we do advise you not to smoke just before the measuring.
  10. HAVE FUN!