Why Sleep is Absolutely Essential for Weight Loss
Anyone who knows me well knows what a crab I can be without enough quality sleep. I need my 8 hours. I know that sleep is essential for my physical, emotional and spiritual health. What if I told you that sleep is also essential for weight loss and weight management? Would you start protecting your shut eye in the name of health and a flat tummy without feeling like less of a tough guy, like the people who brag they don’t need much sleep to get by?
“Modern society could be a risk factor for major chronic diseases, including obesity and diabetes.” (Medscape) If you’re trying to lose weight and you’re not addressing sleep disturbances or sleep deprivation, your battle of the bulge will be like an uphill climb on your hands and knees with a giant backpack strapped to you.
1) Sleep deprivation makes you eat more: Sleep loss causes an increased release of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger and promotes fat retention. Too little sleep also slows down the release of leptin, a hormone that tells us to stop eating.
2) Lack of sleep can produce striking changes in glucose tolerance and endocrine function––changes that resemble the effects of advanced age or the early stages of diabetes––after less than one week.
3) Sleep deprivation can negate the benefits of working out: Adequate rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen.
4) Sleep deprivation can make you too sick to workout: “Exercise will continue to boost the immune system until a time where sleep deprivation becomes “stressful” on the body, whereby adrenaline and cortisol will reduce the production of the same immune cells. Short term sleep deprivation will not usually have any adverse effects on the body apart from fatigue. Long term sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of illness.” Dr. Penny Kendall-Reed, Naturopathic Doctor
HOW TO GET A BETTER NIGHT'S SLEEP:
a) Avoid screen time at least an hour before bed, especially the news or work related activities.
b) Keep your room for sleeping and not working
c) Black out windows to promote the release of melatonin and proper circadian cycle (importance for the prevention of cancer)
d) Create nighttime rituals that help you relax: take a bath, drink a cup of tea, meditate, or read a book, listen to relaxing music.
e) Limit caffeine intake to maximum two a day and no caffeine including green tea after noon.
f) Don’t do a high intensity workout too close to bed.
g) Budget enough time to sleep so that you wake up feeling rested. The amount of sleep people truly need varies but at least 7 hours is important.
h) If you have serious sleep disturbance issues, talk to your doctor. Visits to sleep clinics are generally covered by provincial medical coverage.
i) If anxiety related issues are keeping you awake or making you wake up and not fall back to sleep, it might be time to create better mechanisms for coping with stress like starting psychotherapy.
j) If your partner keeps you awake due to snoring or sleep apnea, encourage him/her to see a doctor or get some ear plugs!
Chime in below to share your successes or struggles in tackling sleep issues.