According to British fitness trainer Joe Wicks, the best thing people can do for their health is to prioritize sleep.
If you're sleep-deprived, you're less likely to exercise, he said.
You're also less motivated to eat healthy, he explained.
Joe Wicks is a British fitness trainer and author. He has made it his mission to help people live healthier and get in shape. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly play a crucial role in overall well-being, but Wicks' most important advice for anyone who wants to live healthier is simple: get more sleep. The personal trainer explained that more sleep leads to eating healthier, exercising and being less stressed.
"The number one priority for anyone struggling with their physical and mental health is to get sleep," he said. "And then you wake up with the energy you need to play sports. And based on that, you will want to eat healthier. It is a circuit." Wicks said he avoids video games and late-night TV and goes to bed earlier, which has a "massive impact" on how he feels. He now goes to bed at 9 p.m. – which has completely changed his life. For instance, it gives him the energy to exercise before his kids wake up in the morning, he said.
Going to bed earlier helps you eat less junk food
Wicks said he often has cravings for junk food in the evening. So if he goes to bed earlier, he eats less of it. In turn, when he's well rested, he finds it easier to make better food choices the next day.
Research confirms his observation. A 2018 study from the University of Arizona, for example, found a link between lack of sleep and obesity, with the majority of participants saying they craved junk food more when they were tired. Wicks says people who are really tired are more likely to resort to comfort food and sugary treats than cooking healthy meals.
More sleep promotes mental health
Wicks is a big proponent of exercise for mental health. However, it is just as important to recover. "It's closely related because when you're exhausted, your emotions are stronger, you feel more stressed and everything feels much harder," he says.
After a restful night's sleep, you're more likely to have energy for your workout, which further lifts your spirits. A 2019 Harvard University study also suggests exercise may protect against depression.
"It's harder today than ever to be active, healthy and strong. That's why you have to be so determined to keep exercising and cooking healthy, because otherwise it's so easy to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle," Wicks says. And further: You should try to remove all obstacles between you and sport – and more sleep and rest is a good start for that.
This text was translated from English by Lisa Ramos-Doce. You can find the original here.