Science is proving that our rest periods and the quality of sleep we obtain during them can definitely affect our weight loss goals. Getting enough sleep is very important for our health and overall well-being.
Skipping out on meals, thinking that this strategy will help you lose weight faster, may not be a brilliant idea since you in fact may be sabotaging your metabolism and your sleep. Our body’s blood sugar levels can drop if we haven’t eaten and this imbalance can actually wake us up during the night.
It is recommended that we have at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep on average every night. We are talking about good quality, restful, deep sleep. If you have been drinking caffeinated drinks past 2 p.m. and are eating heavy meals prior to going to bed, you will be so wired or so busy digesting food that you will not be able to get into a deep sleep pattern.
Therefore, people who have 9 hours of poor sleep may feel just as unrested and exhausted the next day as those individuals who get 5 or less hours of quality sleep.
Hormones and Metabolism
Our hormones also affect our sleep patterns and weight loss plans. Leptin and Ghrelin are the 2 hormones in question here. Leptin signals you to stop eating and lets you know that satiety has been attained. Ghrelin, on the other hand, is the hormone that signals to us when it is time to eat. People who are suffering from sleep deprivation have more Ghrelin, so obviously if you do, you may gain weight quicker than if you didn’t.
Also, when we are sleep deprived, we slow down our metabolism. Combine this with the fact that your hormones are causing you to gain weight and you can see how the pattern emerges. When we do not sleep, another hormone, known as Cortisol is released. Cortisol is one of our main hormones released during a stress response. When we have high amounts of Cortisol in our bloodstream, we may actually feel hungry even when we are full.
If you notice that you have been gaining weight and nothing you do seems to help, you may also end up stressing yourself out over it. This worry and negative self-image can lead you to feel more stressed out and cause your body to release more Cortisol.
You will notice a difference in your metabolism and begin losing weight if you can start some positive sleep habits.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks after 2 p.m.
- Switch to decaffeinated herbal teas for the afternoon and evening. Many people enjoy a cup of Chamomile tea after supper. Try mixing Mint and Chamomile tea bags in a mug for relaxation booster.
- Other people have success with the herb Valerian, either as a tea or a capsule.
Most of these remedies are available at your local health food store and in some pharmacies.
Other steps you can take are to avoid exercising late at night unless you know it will not affect you by keeping you awake and take a hot bath or curl up with a good book an hour before bed. Stay away from stimulating things such as watching television, emailing your friends or playing on Facebook. If you feel like you have tried everything and nothing works, it is then time to discuss your sleeping concerns with your doctor.