Sleep for Health and Weight Loss

by Maria on January 31, 2014

“Sleep is God. Go worship.”
-Jim Bucher- New York Times best-selling author

Research ties quality, and quantity of sleep to weight loss, better weight control, and better health.

How Sleep Can Affect your Health, and your Ability to Lose Weight

  • Getting less than 6.5 hours, and more than 8.5 hours of sleep has been linked to higher body fat.
  • Sleep loss lowers immunity, and raises stroke risk.
  • High quality sleep, and waking and going to sleep at the same time have been associated with lower body fat, while poor sleep, and irregular sleep hours have been linked with higher body fat.
  • Sleep affects your physical activity, appetite, and metabolism. How?
  1. For example, people who are sleep-deprived feel more fatigued, and exercise less.
  2. Lack of sleep causes the hormone ghrelin levels to rise, which means your appetite is stimulated, and drives down the levels of the hormone leptin which makes you feel full. In short, more ghrelin, plus less leptin, equals weight gain.
  3. If you are not getting enough sleep, or good quality sleep, your metabolism will not function properly. Also, when you are sleep deprived, you feel tired, and rely on sweet foods, and high carbohydrate snacks for energy, which means more calories, and therefore, weight gain.
  • And last, but not least, sleep detoxes the brain, and thus, prevents Alzheimer’s, and dementia.

To sum up: Changing your sleep habits may help you lose weight, and keep you in better health. However, sleep alone isn’t enough. Healthy diet,and exercise need to be part of your healthy weight loss plan.

Here are a Few Better Sleep Strategies to help you Lose Weight, and Stay Healthy

  • Put yourself on a regular sleep schedule (waking and going to sleep at the same time).
  • Avoid any caffeine in the afternoon. Caffeine is a stimulant, temporarily increasing adrenaline production, and blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain.
  • Avoid heavy, rich meals before bed.
  • Reserve the bedroom for bedtime.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol too close to bed time.
  • Get moving.
  • Try to develop a pre-sleep routine that marks bedtime as the end of the day, such as, a warm bath, a relaxing stretching, or a meditation session.
  • If stress, or worry keeps your mind racing when you should be relaxing, take a sheet of paper, and write down your thoughts.
  • Do something relaxing like reading, or listening to quiet music.

And, before you know it, you will be slipping off to sleep – bringing you one step closer to your weight loss goal, and better health!

 

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