Are you getting frustrated that you are going above and beyond and still can’t seem to shed those pounds?
Maybe it’s your schedule that’s stopping you!
With our busy lives, we tend to forget about the importance of sleep. In fact, 30% of us are getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night, on a regular basis. This lack of sleep can cause a domino effect of other issues, many of which result in obesity.
Now, we know what you’re thinking, you got “enough” sleep, ate right, and exercised. But what if it wasn’t enough?
How bad could it be?
Poor sleep has actually been directly linked with weight gain. Short sleep duration is one of the largest contributing factors to obesity in both children and adults. This study shows that a short sleep duration increased the risk of obesity by 89% (kids) and 55% (adults).
Let’s take a look at the WHY’s…
Why is the risk of obesity increased by a lack of sleep? You’re eating, drinking, and exercising as recommend yet can’t seem to make any progress. If we take a look at what’s going on behind the scenes, we see that two hormones may actually be mostly responsible.
Have you ever wondered where the feelings of hunger or being full come from? Two hormones named ghrelin and leptin are responsible for these signals. A lack of sleep can throw this off-balance causing increased appetite and desire for high-calorie foods.
Ghrelin is a hormone released in your stomach, responsible for signalling the brain that you are hungry. Levels of ghrelin are at their highest right before you eat and decrease once you are digesting.
Leptin is a hormone, released from our fat cells, that suppress hunger or signal your brain that you are full.
A lack of sleep increases the production and release of ghrelin while simultaneously decreasing the release of leptin leaving you with that unstoppable hunger.
Speaking of hormones, did you know that poor sleep actually increases the production of a hormone called cortisol, better known as the stress hormone. This hormone also results in an increased appetite.
What’s going on in the brain?
While these hormones are wreaking havoc in your stomach, your lack of sleep has now also dulled activity in the frontal lobe portion of your brain. This section is responsible for your decision-making & self-control. In this state, the reward center of your brain is easily stimulated by the intake of food making snacks and other instant gratification foods (fast food, pre-packaged items) much more desirable. Your brain almost goes into a survival mode craving high-calorie foods.
Not only are certain hormones going haywire, but your cravings also are out of control, your decision-making is skewed, and your lack of sleep now contributes to a lack of energy. This makes exercise seem daunting, leaving you struggling to finish a workout.
How are you going to lose weight if you don’t have the energy or motivation to get your body moving?
We have compiled some of our favorite sleep tips and tricks for you to try out! Some may seem silly but we can assure you they are tried and true…
- 1⁄2 hour before bed – avoid blue lights as they suppress the production of melatonin. Try candles instead.
- Create a detailed to-do list before bed – many of us lay awake running through lists of incomplete tasks.
- Try a cup of Golden Milk before bed.
- Use a diffuser with scents like Lavender and Bergamot.
- Make sure your bedroom is slightly cooled and dark.
- Try a white noise machine or app.
- Wear socks to bed, warm feet can pull blood flow to the extremities allowing your body to rest.
- Splash your face with ice-cold water for 30 seconds – this is known as the Mammalian Dive Reflex, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Reverse Psychology – force yourself to stay awake.
- Blink as fast as you can for a minute.
- Try saying “blank black”.
- Squeeze & Relax Method – once in bed, squeeze and then relax your muscles starting from your toes, working your way up to your head.
- Use the 4-7-8 Rule: Inhale through your nose for a 4 count, hold your breath for a 7 count and exhale for an 8 count. Repeat this 4 times in total.
According to sleep experts, the ideal range of sleep you should be getting is:
- 0-5 years: 10-15 hours
- 6-13 years: 9-11 hours
- 14-17 years: 8-10 hours
- 18-64 years: 7-9 hours
- 65+ years: 7-8 hours
Whether you need to prioritize a nap, head to bed a little earlier, maybe enforce a bedtime routine, we hope we have helped improve your sleep. Sleep is the foundation for your day. Let’s sleep more so we can do more!
Need a little more energy?
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