Sleep and Weight Loss

I know there are many things you do every day to watch your weight. Eat healthy, workout, stay active. But what about sleep? Does sleep affect your weight loss? The short answer is YES. The better sleep you get, the better your body can recover from your workouts and you can make better food choices.

The problem lies in the lack of sleep. When you are short on sleep it can lead to a cascade of problems:

-Lack of sleep slows your metabolism down. When you are sleep deprived your body wants to hold onto resources, thus holding onto carbs and storing them as fat.

-Lack of sleep creates a fight or flight response. The hormone cortisol raises which in turns increases your appetite.

-Lack of sleep also affects your emotions thus not handling situations most effectively.

-Lack of sleep can lead to bad eating. When you are overly tired, your brain is looking for something that feels good, like comfort food. Most likely you won’t go for celery or raw broccoli.

So now that we know we need more sleep, how much sleep do we need every night? We all have different biological clocks which means we all need different amounts of sleep. Some people need 8 solid hours, where others are good on 6 hours of sleep. To know more about how much sleep you need, check out this quiz: from the sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus.

Here are tips to getting a better nights sleep.

  1. Stop using laptops, iPads, and cell phones 30 minutes before you go to sleep. The light emission from these devices suppresses melatonin, the sleep hormone.
  2. Instead of counting sheep, count your breaths. Breath in for a count of 10, hold your breath for a count of 3, and exhale for a count of 10. While you are busy counting breathes, your brain will start turning off.
  3. Watch what you eat. Avoid eating heavy meals and alcohol close to bedtime, which can cause heartburn and make it hard to fall asleep.
  4. Stay away from sodas, teas, or other caffeinated beverages at least 5 hours from your bedtime as caffeine can keep you awake.
  5. Take a shower. This can help relax you and can bring your body temperature down and ready for sleep.

Here’s to a good nights sleep!!

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