Are you getting enough sleep ? According to many studies, most of us could use an extra hour (or two) of sleep every night.
7-8 hours is the recommended amount of sleep that we should be getting each night as adults, it however varies according to our age but not by much. And that much sleep can be hard to achieve with stressful jobs, social lives, kids and our increasingly busy lifestyles.
While it’s easy to sacrifice a little sleep to get things done, it comes at a cost: lack of sleep can cause a variety of health issues, including weight gain. This is how you sleep your way skinny!
How a lack of sleep Can Cause Weight Gain/Reduce Fat Burning
If a person is tired, one of the first things they do is reach for a quick “pick-me-up.” Energy drinks, sodas with caffeine, and candy are often advertised to increase energy and alertness. What isn’t advertised is that they are high in sugar, sodium and calories.
If we aren’t tired, our consumption of these products might decrease. This could mean less calories consumed throughout the day, and less weight gained overall.
Lack of sleep can have a direct impact on two weight loss hormones: ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin sends signals to the brain, telling us when it’s time to eat. Leptin tells the brain that you’re full.
When we’re sleep deprived, the body produces more ghrelin, and less leptin. As a result, we might eat more than we should because we will feel hungrier. This problem is made worse when we eat foods that are processed and high in empty calories, which you’ll be more likely to crave when tired.
Stress and Cortisol
When we’re under stress, our cortisol levels rise. This allows us to stay alert and focus on the task at hand. The problem is when our cortisol levels remain high, which can be due to chronic stress. Chronically high cortisol levels can also cause adrenal fatigue, which can have a huge impact on all of your hormones (estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, etc) and cause weight gain.
Stress poses an additional problem: many of us turn to food to deal with stress, and many of those foods aren’t good for us. The most popular comfort foods are cookies, fast food, ice cream and other high calorie foods that can lead to weight gain.
If we’re tired and lethargic, our metabolisms will be sluggish as well. This means our bodies won’t burn calories as efficiently as we’d like. In other words, instead of burning those extra calories, we increase our likelihood of holding on to them and gaining weight.
Tips on Getting More Sleep
Here are a few ways to get more sleep.
Take a Cat-Nap
Instead of consuming an energy drink or high calorie snack, take a power nap. A 20-30 minute nap can be refreshing and rejuvenating, minus the extra calories.
Take a Look At Your Meds
Some medicines can cause insomnia as a side effect. If this is the case, ask your doctor or naturopath for other options that don’t affect sleep.
Turn Off Your Cell Phone
The blue light from cellphones prohibits the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that your body needs to fall asleep. Resist the urge to lie in bed and check your phone, or check it in the middle of the night.
Keep a Set Schedule
Make an effort to go to bed at the same time each night. This will help your body get into a rhythm and know instinctively when it’s time to go to sleep (and wake up).
Cut back On The Caffeine
This is especially important in the afternoon and evenings. Caffeine tends to wake us up, which is not what we want at bedtime.
Take a Deep Breath or Meditate
Many people can’t fall asleep at night because they are worried or stressed about something. Deep breathing and meditation are relaxing, and can help to decrease stress levels.
There are many diet and exercise plans out there to help us lose weight. However, one of the simplest ways to manage your weight is by just getting enough sleep. So aim for 7-8 hours sleep per night and you can possibly sleep your way skinny! xx