We are a modern society moving faster and getting more done in one day than ever before, and while we’re busy burning the candle at both ends, we often sacrifice sleep to get more done. Watch out for that strategy though, because it might just come back to bite you, in the waistline!
Less Sleep, More Fat
It’s been well documented that the number of hours a person sleeps at night directly correlates to the body fat percentage they are carrying around. The fewer hours of sleep you get, the higher your body fat percentage is going to be.
How Much Is Enough?
Most healthy adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re getting around that many hours, you won’t likely see any weight loss with more, but if you’re only getting 5 or 6 hours of sleep now, then adding another hour or two to get closer to that magic number will help trim the fat off.
How Does That Work?
It might seem counterintuitive that more sleep, meaning hours moving less, thus burning fewer calories, would help you lose weight, but that’s exactly the case. Inadequate sleep results in changes to brain chemistry that alters levels of leptin and ghrelin, two hormones that are responsible for appetite and satiation. As you can imagine, this lethal combination leads to overeating, but never feeling fully satisfied.
7 Ways to Get More SleepIt’s easy enough to say, “Just get more sleep!” But despite our best efforts, sometimes sleep just doesn’t come, or isn’t quality when it does.
Here are 7 ways you can fall asleep faster, and get better quality sleep when you do.
1. Don’t let your room get too hot. Our body temperature is a key component in regulating our sleep patterns. A nice cool room and a cozy blanket will serve up a healthy dose of deep restorative sleep.
2. Eliminate all noise. We all know that a ticking alarm clock, or a dripping faucet, can make it hard to fall asleep, but noise can also interrupt our brains ability to get into a deep restful sleep, even if it does allow us to doze off. Turn off the TV or radio, and if your significant other has a snoring problem, have them seek professional help. He or she is probably sleep deprived too.
3. NO Caffeine within 6 hours of bedtime. This one is a no brainer. We need to be able to relax to go to sleep, and ingesting a stimulant too close to bedtime can really mess up your rest. It may be hard to resist that extra boost from a cup of java at an afternoon meeting, but you’ll pay for it in sleep, and the vicious cycle will continue. Try water. Many times when we feel tired, dehydration may be playing a role.
4. Avoid spicy/fatty foods at dinner. Fatty foods, or ones that have a high acid content can cause acid reflux, making it hard to relax and sleep comfortably. Try to avoid any creamy sauces or thai style spices just before you lay down. The horizontal position exacerbates the problem.
5. Avoid Alcohol right before bed. Having a little wine before bed can make it really hard to fall asleep. Having a LOT of wine or spirits before bed can have the opposite effect and make you really sleepy. Unfortunately, whichever scenario you find yourself in, alcohol disrupts the brain’s ability to get into, and stay in, a deep sleep. Pass on the nightcap and enjoy an herbal tea to promote a deep restful sleep, and more energy tomorrow.
6. Go to bed at the same time every night. Our internal clock controls our sleep patterns, to a large degree. It’s best not to confuse it. Resting and waking at roughly the same time each day gives our clock a better chance at efficiently bringing us down to sleep, and waking us quickly. Make a routine that you can live with, and stick with it.
7. Shut off the iPad! The amount of light our brains perceive has a direct effect on how tired we are. Artificial light is especially disruptive, and its smart to avoid electronic devices, including smart phones, tablets, and televisions in the hour before hitting the sack. Relax with a book, play a game, or have a nice conversation with a real person.
Our sleep is something that’s not only important to our wellbeing, it is absolutely essential to our survival as a healthy productive person. Shirking your sleep is a good way to gain weight, and have very little energy to exercise that weight off. Turn down the lights, turn down the sheets, and turn off your mind. Your responsibilities will be there tomorrow; get some sleep.