A few years ago I wrote a post on Sleep and how it affects your health and weight. At the time I was still battling insomnia, although not as bad as it had been several months before. And I had discovered that my lack of shut-eye affected, not only my sanity and ability to function like a normal human being, but also my weight. As my sleep cycle decreased, I watched my weight increase. I was frustrated on so many levels, but eventually, sleep came easier to me and I finally got back to a semi-normal amount each night.
As I noted in that post, our sleep norm is down to an average of 6 hours per night from the norm compared of 7 hours per night 10 years ago, and 9 hours per night compared to the norm at the turn of the century. (I’m not an expert, but I can almost guarantee that with the increase of social media, the average rate of sleep in North Americans has decreased from 6 hours per night since I wrote that post three years ago.)
Sleep deprivation has shown to 1. affect the release of cortisol (a hormone that regulates appetite), which can leave one feeling continuously hungry, and 2. increase fat storage (your sleep loss can affect the way your body metabolizes carbohydrate, leading to excess blood sugar, promoting the overproduction of insulin, leading to fat storage).
Fortunately, as indicated in my original post, there are many great ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep and well rested (stay away from caffeine, don’t exercise right before bed, etc.). This time around, my very first suggestion is likely, in this day and age, the most important:
- UNPLUG! Social media is terrific for catching up with friends and staying in touch, but honestly, I think it’s killing us slowly. So many people are worried about what they might miss if they disconnect from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Even for just a few hours. And therefore, are online all.night.long. If you want truly want to get a decent sleep, I suggest logging off your accounts and shutting down at least a good hour before hitting the sack. Seriously, if you are that much of a social media junkie, then you likely need a detox anyway. Log off computer, turn off the TV, shut down your phone (or at least put it on media silent) so that your brain can unwind from all that garbage.
Turn it off! Snapchatting your “fake” sleep look is not as important as getting the real Zzzzs.
- RELAX. Have a warm bath, read a book (one of my favorite ways to wind down), meditate, have some conversation. AND FINALLY:
- CHECK YOUR MATTRESS. Often we become so accustomed to our beds that we don’t realize how really terrible our mattresses are, and that they could verily be the reason our sleep pattern is so poor. We wake up with aching backs, stiff necks, and zonked out, yet we continue to sleep on the same old mattress each night.
LEESA has some pretty terrific mattresses and other products out there that they call “a Universal Adaptive Feel™ that adapts to all body shapes and sizes and all sleeping styles. This is particularly useful for couples, as each side adapts differently to each partner.” This is pretty perfect. Think about how many times you wake up in the night because your partner is dipping the bed.
You can also check out The Sweet Home’s review on why Leesa is the best foam mattress around!
If you’ve noticed your rate or quality of sleep is suffering and your weight is changing (and not for the better), it is worth it to evaluate your sleep pattern. If you feel you are getting enough sleep but you still wake feeling groggy and tired, perhaps it is the time to check out a new mattress or pillow. Or, you can even look at how you are sleeping: are you facing the right direction, etc.? I know not everyone believes in Feng shui (a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment), but it may be worth checking out. If you’re used to your head facing north, flip yourself around so that you’re facing south. Seriously: don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!
In the meantime, you can also check out Leesa’s the tips below on how to become a morning person. And may you have sweet dreams.