The Skinny on Sleep
It’s no secret that sleep quality directly effects our overall health and well-being. Our current over-stimulated culture is putting a chokehold on that sleep quality, to the point of negative health implications. As a result bags under our eyes are now being accompanied with tires around our waist.
There is compounding research showing how much poor sleep habits are contributing to costly health outcomes in our nation. We seem to be disconnecting from this primal behavior that will drive our health towards a cliff if it is continually compromised. The link between chronic disease, obesity and poor sleep habits is very real. However, this does not have to be the fate of your health.
Thanks to scientists funneling their attention to sleep, research continues to find astonishing benefits of a healthy sleep routine. By focusing on a few key components to a solid bedtime routine, there are ways you can take control of your nightly recovery session to improve your overall health and body composition.
I have compiled some cozy information to give you a better understanding of how sleep effects weight loss along with ways you can achieve improved sleep.
Sleep the Fat off!!
Current sleep research is finding patterns that find a strong link between weight gain and poor sleep patterns. This compelling research is uncovering some physiological effects that occur to our body in response to substandard sleep habits.
Some argue that this discovery may offer a new angle to attack fat and weight loss. However, while this may appear to be good news for those having trouble losing those inches there is still an inevitable constant in the laws of weight loss. Losing fat is driven by calorie balance (Calories in vs. Calories out) and that will not change anytime soon. This caloric instability is a root to these major weight issues we face today. This is where the sleep discussion steps in and may help those struggling with weight loss.
There are many viable studies pointing to a hormone imbalance in our body attributed to a lack of quality sleep. Hormones can get thrown out of wack when we are not getting in our rejuvenating rest. While many hormones may be affected from our sleep habits according to science, the two more notable hormones Ghrelin (Hunger Hormone) and Leptin (Satiety Hormone) are the ones we should direct our attention to.
When Ghrelin levels are elevated we tend to overeat and/or make poor nutrition choices due to uncontrollable fits of hunger. On the flipside, when Leptin levels are elevated findings show that we tend to consume less calories and make better nutrition choices.
One of the best ways to increase Leptin levels is through adequate restful sleep. Conversely, one of the more effective ways to surge Ghrelin production is from lack of sleep.
The bottom line according to recent findings tells us if you want to prevent constant hunger pangs and give yourself a better chance at changing your nutrition lifestyle, it’s simple.
GET. MORE. QUALITY. REST!
P.S. It is recommended to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep to give yourself the best opportunity for a good night’s rest.
Sleep Preparation = Workout Preparation
The key to great sleep is formulating a plan that sets you up for a revitalizing slumber session. Sleep should be no different from preparing for a heart pounding workout session. Just as a great warm-up and stretch precedes a great workout. The same should be considered when preparing for an extended evening siesta. If you don’t know where to start in staging a great nights sleep you can rest easy. Here are a few of my practical pre-bedtime rituals.
- Create a relaxing space – Dimming lights in your home, preferably warm lighting will stir up your bodies natural melatonin production. This is a great way to organically prep your body for upcoming rest a few hours before slipping into bed.
- Limit tech exposure – Another way you can pack a knockout punch to your bedtime routine is by peeling that device out of your hands. Place it far enough from you that you are not likely to grab it and stumble into a click bait rabbit hole at 10pm. Limiting your exposure to Blue Light (tech gadget lighting) can take a courageous effort these days. This habit may take a while to undo but worth the life altering outcome.
- Tea Time – One of my preferred ways to find a good nights sleep is having tea before bed. Calming teas like the yogi “bedtime” tea, which I am a huge fan of, really do wonders in calming my nervous system.
- Paperback Reading – If ambient lighting or sleep teas are not your thing you can always count on some paperback reading to weigh down those eyelids. In some cases reading may have a stimulating effect so it is recommended that you choose a light-hearted read that doesn’t spark any internal fires. Also, try not to use an e-reader or tablet, remember we are trying to limit blue light exposure.
Sleep will never be the sole factor in landing you the body of a greek god. However, it can play a crucial role in keeping your weight and health from spiraling out of control. Don’t let poor sleep habits cancel out all your efforts in the gym and/or kitchen. Meeting your fitness goals and improving overall health takes a lot of strategy that starts with consistently achieving restorative sleep. So take the time to master a solid sleep routine and trade in those LB’s for more ZZZ’s.
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