Get some zzz’s

Posted: February 23, 2011 in Health

hypno_sleepDid you know that sleep plays an important role in weight-loss? I make sure I get at least 8 hours of sleep each night! If not, I don’t feel rested and find it hard to get through my day.

There have been lots of studies on this issue and these studies have shown that basically, if you’re not getting enough hours of sleep at night, you could be finding it hard to lose weight. It can also cause many more unwanted health problems.

There’s really no proven reason why it can affect your weight-loss YET but there are some theories!

1. A lack of sleep messes with two hormones. An increase in the hormone Ghrelin and a decrease in Leptin! Ghrelin basically tells you when you’re hungry and Leptin tells you when it’s time to stop.. so if you aren’t getting enough sleep your body is being told you’re hungry and you don’t feel as satisfied or full after you eat! Add to that the fact that people who are sleep deprived tend to crave foods that are high in calories such as sweet or salty, starchy foods and you can see why these changes in your hormones can lead to weight gain over the long-term.

2. It interferes with the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates and causes high blood glucose levels. This can lead to higher insulin levels and greater body-fat storage.

A lack of sleep also increases your risk of diabetes from a possible insulin resistance, increases your blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

So how many hours of sleep per night should you be getting? It really depends on your age and your body but an adult (18+) should on average be getting between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep, teens (12-18) should be getting 8.5 to 10 hours a night.

Things like stress, drinking too much alcohol or caffeine before bed, exercising too close to bedtime or working before bed. Even following an erratic schedule (waking up and going to bed at different times each day) can throw your body’s natural sleep/wake cycle out of wack. Other things such as your sleeping partner, jet lag, not being physically healthy and medication can effect your quality of sleep as well.

Ways to try to get a better night sleep can include:

1. Follow a good exercise program but refrain from exercising within three hours of your bedtime.

2. Reduce your stress

3. Don’t drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages near your bedtime.

4. Set your sleep and wake up times around the same time each day to keep your body on a regular schedule.

5. Upgrade your mattress

6. Make sure you’re comfortable, a cool dark room is best for sleep.

If you get enough sleep, you’ll actually be able to get more accomplished in your day then if you had little sleep and more time to do things. Sleep will help increase your energy and efficiency.

Sleeping Myths

Myth 1: Getting just 1 hour less sleep per night won’t effect your daytime functioning. You may not be noticeably sleepy during the day. But even slightly less sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly, and compromise your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and ability to fight infections.

Myth 2: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules. Most people can reset their biological clock, but only by appropriately timed cues—and even then, by 1–2 hours per day at best. Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust after traveling across several time zones or switching to the night shift.

Myth 3: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue. Not only is the quantity of sleep important but also the quality of sleep. Some people sleep 8 or 9 hours a night but don’t feel well rested when they wake up because the quality of their sleep is poor.

Myth 4: You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends. Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleeping later on the weekends can affect your biological clock so that it is much harder to go to sleep at the right time on Sunday nights and get up early on Monday mornings.

Watch this video to find out how sleep deprivation could be affecting your health!

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