Sleep and Weight Loss

Sleep and Weight Loss
Are you getting enough sleep?  Did you know that sleep and weight loss are linked?
Several studies have linked sleep and weight loss. If you sleep less than six hours a night, you increase your chances of being overweight or obese. The consequences of being obese are significant.  Obesity is strongly related to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even some cancers.
Which comes first? Does the lack of sleep lead to obesity or does obesity lead to a lack of sleep? It turns out they feed off of each other.
  • A lack of sleep increases your time awake and therefore increases your chances of eating. Unless you sleep walk, you can't eat while you are sleeping. The midnight snack was invented by people who were awake at midnight.
  • Sleeping less may affect hormones that monitor feelings of hunger and fullness. If your body's signaling devices are telling you that you're hungry more often or affecting when you feel full, you will find it more difficult to eat and drink fewer calories.
  • A lack of sleep may lower a person's basal metabolic rate so that they burn fewer calories than a similar person who sleeps more. That's right! Your body is slowing down in it's bid to recover from the previous day with inadequate sleep.
  • Sleeping deprivation lowers your energy during the day which will lower your desire to exercise. Who wants to exercise when they can barely keep their eyes open or when they would rather take a nap on the couch because they didn't get enough sleep?
  • Unfortunately, your weight gain may hinder your sleep. The excess weight can inhibit your breathing and lower the amount of oxygen you get as you sleep. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea are more common in obese people than in normal weight persons. Sleep apnea is a disorder that can lead to heart and lung issues.
You may have created a vicious circle. You gain weight as you get less sleep and you find it more difficult to sleep as you gain weight. What can you do about? Below are five tips that may help you sleep more than seven hours a night.
  1. Don't drink caffeine, eat chocolates or eat foods high in sugar after 2:00 in the afternoon. Yes 2:00 PM is arbitrary. Experiment with a cutoff time, but remember, caffeine and sugars will keep you awake.
  2. Don't watch television in bed and turn off your computer and cell phone an hour before going to sleep. Sound and visual stimuli bombard us. It is difficult to rest when your brain is still wired to your electronics. Turn them off and either read, talk or meditate.
  3. Experiment with when you exercise. Try it in the morning and see if it increases your energy and helps you sleep. Or try it at night after dinner and see if that helps with sleep. Either way, exercise as it will use energy, burn calories and reduce stress.
  4. Don't sleep in on weekends. If you can stay consistent with your sleep times on weekends, you will have a better chance of getting to sleep on Sunday night.
  5. Turn your brain off. Write down the items you need to tackle and place them in a drawer for the next morning. Meditate or practice deep breathing and let go of the day's problems. They will still be there in the morning. You can either tackle them refreshed or fatigued.

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