Sleep

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:

  1. 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.

    plugged-in-sleep

    Turn it off!  Snapchatting your “fake” sleep look is not as important as getting the real Zzzzs.

  2. RELAX.  Have a warm bath, read a book (one of my favorite ways to wind down), meditate, have some conversation. AND FINALLY:
  3. 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.

sleep-graphic

~Fit Bitch

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Sleep is Your Friend

Mujer intentando dormir
Last November is when my Insomnia first began. I don’t know how it started or what caused it. But I would have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. Sometimes I’d eventually fall asleep, sleep for 15-45 minutes and then be awake the rest of the night. Some nights I’d lay awake until 4, 5 or 6 in the morning and then would have to get up before 7 to prepare for work. And some nights I just wouldn’t sleep at all. This would occur most often. And usually, it would be two or three nights with no or minimal sleep. I would be a low-functioning zombie at work, then go off to the gym or to fitness class and then home hoping to sleep but never getting there. The insomnia still occurs but it’s not as frequent. THANK GOODNESS.

This may or may not have been the beginning of a small (but very frustrating for me) weight incline. Even tho I was working my butt off, even increasing my exercise, I have gained an itsy amount of weight (but itsy is sometimes enough to make one want to bang her head off a wall – amiright or amiright??). Why? Because getting enough sleep is dire to a healthy life and weight.

Research has shown that an important factor in losing weight, and keeping it off, is adequate sleep. Your hormones are affected by sleep. The most important one is leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full. The minute you are sleep deprived, your leptin levels go down. Ghrelin is the hormone that says ‘feed me.’ When you’re sleep-deprived, your ghrelin levels go up. “When you consider that the average American sleeps just six hours a night- down from 7 hours a night only 10 years ago, and 9 hours a night at the turn of the century- it’s no wonder American’s are struggling with weight and obesity issues.”

Keys to a good sleep are to reduce stress and avoid overeating. A good night’s rest can help keep hormone levels stable and eliminate behaviors that follow sleep-deprivation. Lack of sleep can cause the body to create cortisol, a hormone often linked with stress (cortisol increases appetite and may also ramp up the motivation to eat). Our brains may actually signal us to look for high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” after a stressful, sleep-deprived day. It’s also important to note that people who are sleep deprived usually consume more calories in the day – especially in the evening.

It’s important to make sure that the quality of your nightly sleep is deep and gives you the rest your body needs. The following may help you get a good night’s rest:

Unwind before bedtime with a warm bath or shower, yoga stretches, light reading, meditation and/or listening to quiet music.

Stay away from caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and limit your alcohol consumption to one drink at least a few hours before bedtime. (Caffeine is a 12 hour drug so be aware that if you’re consuming caffeine after noon you might be awake and alert well into the night.)

Exercise, but not right before bedtime.

Don’t take naps.

Go to bed when you’re tired, but get up at the same time every day whether you’ve had a good amount of sleep or not.

If you have trouble staying asleep at night, keep clocks where you can’t see them. This may help you avoid feeling stressed about the amount of time during which you’ve been unable to fall back asleep.

When your body feels rested and you are getting the sleep you need, your hormones will work in balance and support your overall weight loss program.

Cat Nap

Cat Nap

I wish you all a peaceful sleep.

~Fit Bitch