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How Your Sleep Affects Your Weight + 6 Tips For Restful Sleep

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 in Featured, Health Tips, Healthy Lifestyle | 0 comments

Elizabeth Finch

 

Most people understand that the foods they eat or don’t eat, and whether or not they regularly exercise, all factor in to whether or not they will be able to lose weight.

But one thing I’ve found that most people don’t fully understand, is how much your sleep affects your weight loss and your ability to maintain your ideal weight.

It all has to do with your hormones, and this is something we talk about more in-depth in my Ditch the Diets 28-Day program. There are a few different hormones in play when it comes to how much sleep you get, and how hungry you’ll be, how full and satisfied you’ll feel, and how your body will store fat.

Here’s what happens: when you drop too low in your sleep, you will be hungrier the next day, and you won’t ever really feel full and satisfied, no matter how much or what you eat. And, your body will crave energy in the form of sugar and too much caffeine as it tries to make up for its low energy levels.

And (yes, there’s more), your body’s ability to properly use insulin, which is a fat storage hormone, becomes disrupted. Lack of sleep can cause you to have higher blood sugar levels, and your body will be more likely to store the food that you do eat as fat, especially around the midsection.

So basically, when you’re sleep deprived, you will crave more food, you’ll be more likely to reach for more unhealthy foods, and you’ll store more of the food you eat as fat on your body.

So, how much sleep is too little sleep?

It’s the million dollar question, and honestly, it’s different for every person. For the most part, and what I’ve found working with women in weight loss programs over the past 4 years, is that most people need anywhere between 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

The best thing to do is to pay attention to how your body feels when you are well rested, and how you feel when you haven’t gotten much sleep. Are you hungry? What’s your energy level? Are you craving sugary foods, or salty foods?

For me personally, I can tell a huge difference in my cravings for sugar and other processed foods when my sleep drops below a good solid 7.5 hours. I prefer 8 hours, but I make sure to try never to get less than 7.5, because I pay for it dearly the next day.

Here are my top 6 tips for ensuring great sleep, each and every night, and staying on track with your weight goals and your energy:

1. Eat dinner a bit earlier.

Your body needs a bit of time to digest food before you go to sleep. Shoot for dinner around 6:00 or 6:30, if possible, but no later than two hours before you go to bed. Avoid super heavy meals and overeating, which both interfere with restful sleep. It’s also worth mentioning that alcohol disrupts your sleep.

2. Wind down at night with a few nighttime rituals.

Find a few things that feel good to you and help you “come down” from your day, soothing you into a restful night’s sleep. I love a cup of tea or a hot bath. Soothing music is always great, too.

3. Go to airplane mode and stay off electronics.

We live in an overactive, technology-driven world that makes it hard for us to shut our minds down. Stepping away from email and even text messages is crucial for helping your brain to disengage from all the outside noise.

I try to put my phone on airplane mode (or do not disturb mode) at around 7:00 or 7:30. This also helps me to spend the precious time before bed with my daughters, and focus on really connecting with them.

The blue light from your phone and computer screen also inhibits your body’s melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy, so try to make a “no electronics an hour before bedtime” rule. I promise, it’s possible! And actually very calming…try it.

4. Try a melatonin supplement.

I love Pure Rest and take it nightly. I set an alarm on my phone for 30 minutes before I’d like to be asleep, and take it then. You might need to experiment with how much time it takes the melatonin to help you feel sleepy.

Side note: be sure you’re choosing a high quality melatonin supplement! Supplements are NOT all created equally, and many of them are loaded with binders and fillers and are simply just not pure or potent. I personally only take supplements from USANA Health Sciences because I trust the purity, potency, quality and safety.

5. Try reading before you fall asleep.

Reading before bedtime has been shown to decrease stress levels and lower cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Try a great book before bed, instead of letting the television run.

6. Set these up as a nightly ritual.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, “A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime conducted away from bright lights helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep or remain asleep.” Rituals are soothing, give us structure in our lives and help us to better stay on track. Try to keep a fairly similar routine on the weekends.

 

 

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