I love sleep. Sleep is a wonderful and an amazingly rejuvenating activity that never begins early enough and never seems to last long enough for most people. In fact, statistics show that the average American only gets about six hours of good, solid sleep and that is just not enough when it comes to maintaining or regaining a healthy body.
Why Sleep and Weight Loss Need Each Other
The whole relationship between weight loss and sleep deals directly with hormones, specifically leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin lets your body know that you are hungry (even sometimes when you're body really isn't) and leptin signals your body to stop eating and that it is full. Without the proper amount of sleep, these two hormones can get grossly off balance and leave your weight loss efforts disconnected from your original goal.
Along with your hormones being off balance, your sense of judgment relating to what foods you should eat will be off balance as well. You know you should scramble up some eggs and fill your body with some crisp sauteed vegetables, but grabbing a prepackaged granola bar would be so much easier and take a lot less mental muscle at six in the morning. When you have received a full night of sleep, you are much more likely to make the right food and health decisions and not just do what's easiest.
How to Get Good Sleep
Getting a good night's sleep starts way before the sun goes down and thoughts of hitting the sack float into your mind. To make sure that you achieve your maximum sleeping and weight loss potential, try incorporating some or all of these tips into your bedtime and daytime routine:
- Cut the caffeine. For some, this is harder than it sounds, but it can do a lot for your ability to sleep well. Caffeine, whether in coffee or soda, is horrible on the body and makes it tough to get to sleep. I recommend that you shut off the caffeine around noon, if not sooner. Eventually, your dependence on these drinks will dissipate, you will sleep better, and you won't need caffeine to keep you awake during the day.
- Click. Turn off the television. If you want to take this one step further, take the television out of your bedroom entirely.
- Turn off your brain. If you can't seem to stop all of the thoughts that are keeping you awake, try writing your thoughts down. I have found this to be very cathartic and it actually takes the words out of my brain and puts them on paper. Once all the thoughts are out, my brain can shut off.
- Exercise earlier. Some say that exercising late at night can prevent you from getting a good night's sleep. If at all possible, exercise in the morning to get you going or mid-day to prevent that inevitable drowsiness felt around three o'clock.
Now that you are fully informed, try getting a good night's sleep. I promise that you will be living your weight loss dreams in no time.