Sleep For Weight Loss
- May 31, 2020
Zzzz’ and weight loss, any connection? I’d say an intricate connection! Studies have it that too little sleep wrecks your metabolism encouraging weight gain! Several factors affect sleep: your bedtime rituals, room temperature, mattress quality, your dinner, age, environmental noises the list goes on.
The good news is that much of these factors can be controlled. Rooms that are too cold, too warm, bad mattress, wrong pillows, a stomach crammed with food, noisy neighbors or illness will leave you with shut eyes and restless time in bed. With poor quality sleep comes increased cortisol, constant cravings for sweets and carbs, irritability, poor choices. To offset your feelings, chances are you either tuck into some great tasting heavy carbohydrate meal (packing on the flab) or you eat little (yea we are watching the weight!). Either way you treat the symptoms, leaving the cause! In time even if you starve, your cortisol and Ghrelin levels rise while Leptin falls. You are always hungry and can’t stop eating. Even if you subdue the hunger your body gets into fasting mode storing whatever food you eat as fat. To enhance weight loss, we must work at our bedtime habits.
To enjoy great sleep, cut off all screens (its blue spectrum light) at least 2 hours before bed. Science has it that blue light inhibits the production of melatonin- the hormone for sleep. If you are bored with nothing to do, read a book, a poem or The Bible. Studies show that reading a book (not electronic type) calms your nerves and lulls your brain to sleep.
DECLUTTER YOUR BEDROOM
And declutter your mind! A room that’s filled with yesterday’s laundry, piles of work papers, homework halfway done is most likely to have you awake in bed ruminating over plans to get those and other chores done. By tidying up, you get rid of the mental burdens and anxiety that clutter brings, freeing your mind for a good sleep
POWER YOUR DEVICES OFF CAMP
According to a 2011 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism exposure to bright electric light between dusk (that’s 6pm and your bedtime) inhibits melatonin production leaving you strung up and wakeful. In addition, Electromagnetic fields (EMF) from devices affect our bodies nervous system inducing sleep problems and other issues. So to limit your exposure to worrisome EMF, use the speaker function and charge your devices in another room.
Your bedtime ritual should be a relaxing and de-stressing time; evening bath is essential; great for your skin and wonderful for sleep. If you are in the tropics, a cooling (not cold) evening shower will relax you. Use mildly scented cosmetics to avoid exciting the senses. That way your olfactory senses signal your brain that it’s time to sleep! Endeavour to get into bed at the same time everyday
Heavy meals especially meat dishes, alcohol, deep fried foods, caffeine products close to bedtime must be avoided if you are to catch some good sleep. If you must eat those, then have your meals at least 3 hours before going to bed. Caffeine and alcohol may initiate heartburn, give you increased bathroom visits, leaving you with restless shuteye further worsening your situation. Remember to keep tempting snacks out of view!
You are bone weary and it’s been a hectic day. All you want is a hot meal and your bed. But you dive in and wake up groggy, stiff and cross! Who’s to blame? Your bed may just take the bad rap. Remember that mattresses and pillows also have life expectancy. Consider getting new ones if you think your poor sleep is due to your bad mattress.
Lack of sleep affects your decision making ability- negatively I’m afraid. When you are sleep deprived the frontal lobe of your brain (which controls food related decision making) goes awry and you find yourself unable to resist the temptation to eat sugary snacks, fries and the likes. Sleep deprivation makes you select bigger portions of food despite your honest intentions
OPTIMIZE YOUR ROOM FOR SLEEP
Evaluate your bedroom for sleep disrupting factors and effect necessary changes. Remove all screens. Ensure your room has dim light, is cool, noise free and clean. Do use your room for sleep. Studying, gaming and work have no place in the bedroom!
SLEEP WITH THE SUN
Keeping pace with your circadian rhythm means going to bed at a particular time, avoiding activities that unduly tax the brain. In short start winding down as the sun sets!
Meditation, a mind calming practice, makes us aware of our environment and emotions enabling us to quash overactive minds, fatigue and stress. Sleep meditation helps to improve sleep quality and time, enabling you to stay asleep longer. Guided, mindfulness and concentration meditation work to unwind and relax reducing cortisol levels making your sleep deep and natural.