Practical Unscientific Reasons why Lack of Sleep Leads to Weight Gain.

As some of you may know, this year, 2014, I made my ‘resolution’ to sleep more each night, and stop putting work and commitments more of a priority than sleeping!  While travelling in Costa Rica I was sleeping 8-10 hours a night, and taking naps during the day, I noticed a SIGNIFICANT decrease in my appetite.  It really made me think.  I decided to commit to resting and sleeping more in 2014 to see how it affects my body.

I now turn off the lights and stop cooking/cleaning/working etc. at 9 pm.  I tuck myself in and allow myself to read or journal, and most nights fall asleep by 930.  It’s not an easy thing to do, and takes a lot of organization, but I will show you why it’s worth it.  I generally get up between 5 and 630, so this gives me at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

So far I have noticed:
–       improved mood
–       improved exercise tolerance and ability
–       weight loss
–       clear minded & rational thinking
–       hungry for much less calories throughout the day
–       more energy and joy

So let me explain to you what I think happens when we don’t sleep enough:

1)   When we don’t sleep enough, we are never rested, and our body is working in over drive (especially for those of you drinking tons of coffee).  In overdrive we don’t think clearly and rationally, and I believe aren’t in tune with when we are hungry or full, and aren’t able to distinguish the cues/need for sleep/rest/relaxation etc. from the cues for food!  Therefore we snack mindlessly, eat lunch for the sake of eating lunch, and follow strange eating patterns rather than eating for the sake of feeling hungry in our stomach!  Do you notice you are less snacky or hungry when you are more relaxed/sleeping well?

2)   When we sleep enough we allow our muscles to recover faster from our exercise.  This allows us to exercise with greater intensity and frequency, which equals more calories burnt!  Also, because we are more rested with more energy we are more likely to want to move around more, and be active rather than sitting around on the couch!  Plain and simple J Now that I am sleeping lots I find it easy to ride my bike around everywhere, whereas before I would have never had the energy or drive to do it!

3)   When we are rested and have slept well we have the energy and focus to cut up the veggies, and cook up the proteins rather than grabbing the easiest foods in the cupboards because we are exhausted.

4)   When we sleep well we are in better spirits.  When we are happier we are more likely to make good decisions for our health!  When we are in a good mood we often don’t feel like putting crappy food into our body, compared to when we are feeling crappy sometimes all we want is that ice cream!  Also, when we are in better spirits we are more proactive and creative in continuing our journey to better health!

5)   When we are awake longer there are more hours in the day to be wanting food, and eating food!

6)   Sleep deprivation affects hormones, as well as appetite suppressing and increasing hormones. Keep hormones stable, to control your appetite!  I can write about this in more detail perhaps in another post!

7)   When we don’t sleep enough we ruin our immunity, therefore get sick more often, and can’t stay consistent with the gym.
Do you need help sleeping more?

Here is how I suggest you get started:

(Remember, there are other ways to help you sleep better such as acupuncture, foods, etc. but these are easy places to begin):
1.     Plain and simple:  Figure out what 8 hours of sleep looks like for you and turn off the lights 1 hour to half an hour before you should be ASLEEP to get those 8 hours.

2.     Don’t bring TV’s, Computers, cell phones into the bedroom.  These technologies will keep you awake, and only lead to mindlessly keeping yourself amused rather than getting the mind rest you need!  Reading, journaling, or listening to soft music is a much better idea before bed as it actually calms the nervous system down.

3.     For the 3 hours before bedtime try to do some relaxing calming activities.  Cleaning up, journaling, taking a bath, having a conversation with a friend are great ideas.  Try and avoid exercising, or stimulating your body.  I always recommend to try and not think or talk about money, business, or other challenges and issues you may be thinking about right now.

4.     Keep the stimulants to a minimum past 3 pm.  Coffee, cocoa, teas, chocolate, sugars, fruits, sweeteners etc. are all going to keep you up at night!  Give them plenty of time to work through your system by having them at least before 3 pm.  Try having a calming tea before bed (sleepy time by celestial seasonings works well).  I also supplement with magnesium citrate in the powdered form before bed, as it relaxes the muscles and calms the body!

5.     Actively deal with the stress and anxiety in your life.  Journalling, coaching, guided mediation, energy healing, whatever it is your into, do it!  When we have issues/unresolved conflict on our mind it is for sure going to disrupt our sleep.
I hope that helps for now!  And I hope you start to prioritize sleeping over other activities.  I have realized if I can’t manage to sleep 8 hours and do all the other things I want to do in a day, I am asking myself to do too much!

In best health,

Katherine

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