Sleep and weight loss
Not only are nutrition, movement and motivation at the foundation of a recipe for a healthy weight but recuperation or sleep, is at the very base of that formula. The link between a lack of sleep and accumulation of the stress hormone cortisol is well known but you may not appreciate the negative effect this has on your weight. Higher levels of cortisol switch your body into a survival mode - storing fat away in uncertain times for when it needs it most, rather than burning it. This is exasperated when you include the secondary effect of tiredness on higher calorie food choice and a lack of enthusiasm to exercise.
Sleep is your body’s chance to renew, regenerate and revitalize. It allows you to be at your best mentally and physically. A lack of sleep can be debilitating. Not only do your strength, mood, fitness and immunity decrease but your reaction time, memory and reasoning become impaired as sleep debt increases. You require 7-8 hours sleep per night. In one study which followed the sleep patterns of one million people over six years all causes of mortality were greater in those with less than 7 hours sleep and more than 10 hours sleep per night. Those who slept on average only 4 hours per night were two and a half times more likely to die than those who gave their body the 7-8 hours per night it needs for recovery.
For some people getting more sleep is not as simple as just knowing more about the importance of sleep. Sleep is a provocative temptress who cannot be pursued coming instead in her own time when you have given up the chase. Allow sleep to find you by freeing your mind, setting up inviting routines and preparing nutritionally:
- Go to bed earlier — and at a set time each night. Yes it works for kids and it will work for you. If you don’t make your bed time a ritual your body cannot systemize itself to fit with your requirements.
- Make sleep sacred by keeping your bed for activities relating to sleeping (and sex) only.
Void yourself with all engaging material before bed time. Start relaxing at least 45 minutes before you intend to let your head hit the pillow. It is difficult to fall asleep while your body and mind are still aroused from thinking through that last email, the exciting book or movie you were watching or adiscussion you had with your partner.
Create a ritual around drinking a cup of decaffeinated herbal tea, a warm milky drink, meditating, orlistening to music that helps you relax, or reading a relaxing book.
Write down anything that is racing around in your mind — especially any must-do's and unresolvedissues. By writing them down your brain senses you have made a note of them and there is no further need to remind you – making it easier to fall asleep.
Be sure to eat food no later than 2 hours before bed time. This will allow time to digest the food andreturn your heart rate to rest.
From 6 hours before bed time avoid caffeinated foods like chocolate and drinks like coffee and teathat will keep you alert and potentially awake. Even if you can sleep with caffeine in your system research shows your sleep quality will suffer.