Weight loss success with good sleep hygiene
It’s midafternoon, and you can barely keep your eyes open. You grab an energy drink or a cup of coffee. Later that night you toss and turn with a million thoughts running through your mind. One of which is to wonder why you can’t sleep.
The next morning you wake up feeling less than refreshed and hit the snooze button multiple times. By the time you get out of bed you’re running behind so you grab a quick bite to eat on the go. You feel groggy and grumpy.
In your rush, you forgot to pack a lunch, so you grab a fast food salad and perhaps an energy drink. Because you want to work off any bad food choices, you hit the gym on your way home.
Later, you arrive home too exhausted to prepare a healthy meal, and the temptation to order in is a bit overwhelming. You go to bed vowing that tomorrow will be different and experience another frustrating sleepless night. If you’re a parent, you may have even more of these sleepless nights.
When the weekend comes, you have obligations that keep you up past your bedtime, but on Sunday you try to make up for it with a long nap.
It’s a typical scenario for many sleep-deprived people; one that repeats itself week after week. The accumulative effect of this cycle will eventually undermine your attempt at weight loss and set the stage for weight gain.
When it comes to weight loss there are two things most people know they must do:
- Follow the right eating plan
Some of us exercise and follow a healthy eating plan yet many have forgotten or overlooked the third key to weight loss success: SLEEP. During sleep, our body does a major clean-up job.
During the day, hormones control our satiety and cravings. When you are sleep-deprived hormones like ghrelin, which signals hunger, increases; and leptin, the satiety hormone, decreases creating the perfect formula for weight gain.
Not surprisingly, we tend to eat more when we are sleep-deprived, and our metabolism also slows down. Consistently getting less than seven hours of sleep can wreck all your diet and exercise efforts. Especially if you get less than six hours sleep per night.
When you miss out on sleep, your body writes a big check, one your body may not have the “funds” to cover. Your body charges you “overdraft fees” by causing you to make bad food and lifestyle choices until eventually, creating sickness, depleting your energy stores until the bank (ususally your adrenal gland) closes your account!
Good Sleep Hygiene: the third key to weight loss
People who do not sleep well are in the same sleep-deprived state as those who do not sleep enough. This sleep deficit prevents us from having the mental clarity we need to make healthy food choices. In fact, sleep deprivation stimulates an area of your brain that causes you to crave high-calorie foods and to eat larger portions than usual.
When you are sleeping, your body releases growth hormone, the anti-aging hormone. This hormone helps your body burn fat and recover from workouts faster. Trying to work out in a sleep-deprived state is particularly unpleasant because you have an energy deficit. In addition to having less growth hormone, you have increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol; and you know cortisol is the hormone that contributes to belly fat.
Missing out on a good night’s sleep makes you more likely to skip the gym. Skipping the gym or eating too many comfort foods can weaken our resolve to continue working towards our health goals.
Just getting a half-hour less sleep per night than your body needs to do its job can lead to weight gain. One reason for this might be that your body simply goes into survival mode due to sleeplessness and starts storing precious fuel (fat).
To give your body the best possible chance at avoiding weight gain or achieving weight loss you must practice good sleep hygiene. That means you will get the same amount of sleep each night consistently. Know what time you need to get up in the morning and count back eight hours; that’s your bedtime. Stick to it.
If you have to be out of bed at 6 a.m., then you need to have “lights-out” by 10 p.m. Most phones have settings or apps that can remind you that it is bedtime. Some apps have an alarm to wake you slowly in the morning. Another option is a Bluetooth light bulb like the Sleep Bulb C by GE. This bulb can be set to come on and turn off at the same time day after day.
Create a Sleep Oasis and make sleep a priority
When you get a good night’s sleep it will help you will have the best possible chance of reaching your weight loss goals. Having good sleep hygiene has been one of my top priorities over the last five years. Studying sleep hygiene and choosing the best products to help my family achieve good sleep night after night is my goal. This goal is shared by my friends at The Bed Boss which is why they offer the TOM Tribe a 20% discount!