A very important question to ask yourself on this lifelong journey of health, wellness, and weight-loss is how much sleep should you get each night? If your current sleep time is in the realm of four to six hours, you might want to consider winding down earlier and aiming for seven or eight. Your weight-loss efforts will thank you for it. We all know that sleep is a pivotal part of the weight-loss process. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin. Research shows that sleep can impact your weight-loss goals almost directly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of people are sleep-deprived. And when you think about the statistic for obesity as almost identical, it is easy to see the connection, and it is likely not a coincidence. Lack of sleep combined with bad eating equal weight gain.
Not sleeping enough – less than seven hours of sleep per night – can be working against all the work you have put towards losing weight. Not only does your brain not function optimally but your motors and communication skills are likely to be compromised as well. Top it off with a pinch or two of groggy and cranky and viola and you will likely have a day of very bad-choice eating. Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reflects that not getting those important ZZZ’s can reduce and even undo the benefits and efforts of dieting and healthy eating.
When you do not sleep enough, you could be putting in the work to stay on a diet program, but eventually, you likely feel hungrier, have a lack of overall energy, and feel less satiated after what you do eat. It is an ugly cycle: you do not get enough sleep; you do not have the energy that you want; and eating, even if it is healthy, creates less satisfaction and can lead to a meal or day of cheating.
Let us stack the odds in your favor, because we support your journey to a healthier, happier you! We all have the same 24 hours in the day, and the truth is, we are all busy. It is 2016, so unless you have been living under a rock, you have a lot of things on your plate. Here are a few strategies to get you back in that happy place of REM (rapid eye movement) deep sleep.
- Turn off all electronics or anything with a screen an hour before you sleep. Try wearing blue blocker sunglasses an hour or two before bedtime. These help to block out the blue light from electronics. A study from Harvard Medical found that exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that influences circadian rhythms. This basically can interrupt your natural rhythm for sleep.
- Exercise during the morning or day always helps you get to bed faster.
- Immerse yourself in water. That could mean swimming, getting in the hot tub, or running yourself a nice warm bath with some Epson salt.
- Use a sleep mask or use blackout curtains to cover your bedroom window.
- Keep your room cool or use cooling bed-sheets. Studies show that 65 degrees is the most optimal.
What is the moral of the story? When it comes to weight-loss, your body, brain, and waistline will hugely benefit if you get a good seven to eight hours of sleep. Happy sleeping!