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 bed time 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
neighbours 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 rises 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.
1. SCREEN TIME
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.
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
3.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
bed time) 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
Your bed time ritual should be a relax and de-stress 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 signals your brain
that it’s time to sleep! Endeavour to get into bed at the same time everyday.
5. YOUR DINNER
Heavy meals especially meat dishes, alcohol, deep fried foods, caffeine products
close to bed time 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
keep tempting snacks out of view!
You are bone weary and it’s been 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.
7. YOUR CHOICES
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
temptation to eat sugared snacks, fries and the likes. Sleep deprivation makes
you select bigger portions of food despite your honest intentions.
8. 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!
9. 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
Meditation, a mind calming practice makes us aware of our environment and
emotions enabling us to quash over reactive minds, fatigue and stress. Sleep
meditation helps to improve sleep quality and time enabling you stay asleep
longer. Guided, mindfulness and concentration meditation work to unwind and
relax reducing cortisol levels making your sleep deep and natural.