You Snooze, you Lose!
Sleep well and lose weight! Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?
I've been discussing the importance of taking charge of all aspects of your health if your goal is to lose weight and be healthy. Sleep is one of those underlying issues which could hinder your efforts to achieve just that! Therefore managing your sleep is pivotal in gearing up for a lean, healthy and happy lifestyle.
Medical researchers now have substantial evidence to prove that how much you sleep and quite possibly the quality of your sleep may silently orchestrate a symphony of hormonal activity tied to your apetite. Studies show that production of the hormones leptin and ghrelin may be influenced by how much or how little we sleep.
Here's the connection! When you don't get enough sleep it drives leptin levels down, which means you don't feel as satified after you eat. Lack of sleep also causes ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, so you want more food. This double whammy can certainly set the stage for overeating and lead to weight gain.
Have you ever experienced a sleepless night followed by a day where no matter what you ate you never felt full or satisfied? If so, then you've experienced the workings of leptin and ghrelin.
In addition, our environment, dietary habits, exercise patterns, stress levels, and genitics may all influence the production of leptin and ghrelin.
General tips to help you fall asleep easier and stay asleep:
- Try to reinforce your body's sleep-wake cycle by going to bed and getting up at around the same time every day. Relaxing activities with lowered lights can help ease the transition between wakefulness and sleepiness.
- To enhance melatonin production, sleep in a cool, quiet and dark room.
- Electrical appliances can alter sleep patterns so put them at least two metres away from the bed to reduce EMF emmisions.
- Do not do strengeous aerobic exercise after dinner to avoid overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
- Abstain from loud noises, TV violence orientated shows. Listen to soft music or take a bath to wind down.
- Avoid sugary foods, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and green tea. Chammomile tea is allowed.
- A light snack of protein and fat (a handful of nuts or cottage cheese) before sleep is good. When you pair tryptophan containing foods with carohydrates, this will help to calm the brain down.
- Deep breathing exercises and taking a supplement of magnesium at night will also aid in sleep.