Sleep More and Improve Your Weight Loss Results!
Research suggests that those who sleep less are more likely to be over weight or obese.
A 2016 study by Thomson et al in the journal of Obesity found that weight loss was more successful for women who slept more than 7 hours per night. Results indicated that a better subjective sleep quality increased the likelihood of weight-loss success by 33%.
Biochemist and health advocate Robb Wolf states that "sleep deprivation is a relatively new phenomenon. It did not become prevalent until about 20-30 years ago. This has not come without negative health consequences and has correlated with a rise in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer."
As we have got busier as a society, with most families have both parents working full time jobs - sleep has decreased and health issues have clearly increased.
Getting quality sleep is an important key for anyone improving their health and trying to lose weight. Most of us are busy people with work, study and family commitments. Often we are up too late trying to fit everything into our day. If you are not seeing the health results you want, if weight loss is slow, chronic health issues are present or you are super tired and unmotivated. Pay attention! Here is where the LIFESTYLE comes into the health equation!
So why would poor sleep cause health issues?
Sleep is a basic human need along with food, shelter and human interactions. It is a must, without sleep you will likely go crazy and your body will start to break down, and force sleep on itself.
Irregular or insufficient sleep will affect your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone and part of your fight or flight response. Traditionally the only time our bodies experienced the fight or flight response was when there was a real danger (like a tiger running at you) or no food available (like a famine). If your body thinks you are in danger and cortisol is chronically released a list of health issues with ensue. It is unlikely you will lose weight because it simply isn’t a priority when your life is in danger. Additionally if your body believes there is no food available, it will store all your body fat to keep you safe. The crazy thing is, it doesn't matter if this is real or perceived stress - the body doesn't know the difference. Lack of sleep is something that signals to your body, you are in danger. Combine lack of sleep with a busy, demanding and stressful lifestyle, plus quick easy processed food, for sustained periods of time and your body is really going to struggle! Does this sound like you?
The good news is that you can change this immediately, start with something you can influence today - healthy sleep patterns.
Tips for improving your sleep and health results
Eat Real Food
Eating fresh unprocessed food reduces stress on the body by allowing the body to just focus on digesting and absorption the natural foods. It also reduces the amount of toxins that go into the body, that can cause health and sleep issues.
Eating too much sugar causes blood sugars to rise and drop quickly, and this makes us sleepy. This is confusing for the body and it becomes unclear about what's a sugar low and what's your real sleep time. It also causes stress on the body.
A side note to this is, eat your last meal at least 2 hours before you get into bed. Allowing your body to focus on sleep at night time, not food digestion.
Having a good routine is definitely key; we suggest to participants to hop into bed at 9.30pm and relax by doing some reading (ensuring all electronic devices are well away) which will help your body wind down and signal that it's time for bed. Ideally we want you lights out at 10.00pm for at least 8 hours of sleep. After 10pm cortisol levels naturally increase, and cortisol will keep you awake!
If you are a shift worker, we understand that sleep is even more difficult for you - make sure you focus on our other tips! Long term, shift work is extremely detrimental for your health, so start making a plan to work towards daylight work hours.
If you stress levels are high from work or family commitments, now is the time to start reducing those commitments. Stress can make it hard to fall asleep and even harder to stay asleep - two things which will significantly impact on the quality of your sleep. Make a plan to start cutting back of unnecessary commitments - your health is always more important!
Having a good bedtime routine is essential for getting a good nights’ rest. By having a routine, the same one, no matter when you go to sleep - you can tell your body that sleep is on it's way and it can start winding you down for sleep. Ensure you are relaxed around bed time, have a shower or a cuppa herbal tea. Do the same thing every night or before you sleep so your body knows “ahhh it’s bed time soon”. For example, 9pm devices go off, have a cup of herbal tea or a relaxing shower then jump into bed and read for 30 minutes.
Getting enough daily movement in is also essential for a good nights sleep. Your body needs to be both physically and mentally used to ensure a good nights sleep. Moving through out your day is key, going for regular walks, a run or going the gym. More movement, less sitting! Incorporating movement with family time is always a great idea. Make sure you don't hit the before too late in the evening though - too close to bed and this will disrupt your sleep too!
Turn Off Lights & Devices
The presence of artificial light makes stress hormones flood the bloodstream, leading to elevated stress hormones, sugar cravings, compromised fat metabolism and sleep. Make sure all lights are dim in the lead up to bed and if you get up during the night, you keep the light off or as low as possible. Devices need to be off ideally 60 minutes before you sleep otherwise the blue light they emit can cause disrupted and restless sleep.
Implement these sleep tips and your sleep will improve! But give yourself time, your body may need some retraining. Sleep hormones can take time to adjust. If you are still struggling after 6-8 weeks, talk to your Doctor or Herbalist about natural sleep aids.
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