Many of us struggle to get 6-8 hours of quality sleep a night. Whether it be due to stress, time, work, or children we all find it difficult to get an adequate amount of sleep every night. Well, what if I told you that sleep deprivation can actually effect weight loss and overall fitness goals? That not only is the lack of sleep affecting your energy throughout the day it is also working against you when it comes to achieving your own fitness goals.
We need sleep for a variety of reasons including recharging energy, our muscles recover and rebuild during sleep, and it allows the brain time to store experiences as memories. There are three major reasons why lack of sleep will lead to weight gain.
1. Sleep patterns affect our hormones. When we get less sleep often this results in an increase in cortisol levels. A increase in cortisol contributes to an increase in food intake and abdominal fat storage. Sleep deprivation is also associated with a decrease in Leptin from fat cells. As Leptin decreases the hypothalamus interprets this as the fat cells need more food for energy, which makes you feel hungry. When Leptin levels decrease there will be an increase in Ghrelin, which stimulates hunger. So in summary, a lack of sleep leads to an increase in appetite.
2. It disrupts glucose metabolism. Researchers are finding a high link between sleep deprivation and diabetes. It is hypothesized that less sleep will lower levels of insulin secretion and impair glucose utilization.
3. Affects energy levels and choices. When people are sleep deprived they lack energy. This results in a decreased interest in exercising and they are much more likely to choose higher calorie and caffeinated snacks and beverages to get through the day.
Here are 10 tips to help you get to sleep easier at night:
1. Cut down on caffeine consumption in the late afternoon and evenings.
2. Do not smoke or use any other products with nicotine before bed. (More importantly just quit smoking)
3. Create a noise free sleeping environment.
4. Create a sleep-friendly bedroom by using comfortable linens and pillows, put up darker shades, replace worn out mattresses, and keep the bed cool during sleep hours.
5. Drink fewer fluids after dinner.
6. Attempt to deal with stressful issues during the day and put them away at night. (seek professional consultation if necessary)
7. Set a regular time to go to bed and a consistent time to wake up. Stick to this every day.
8. Avoid bringing work projects and personal paperwork to bed.
9. Avoid bringing food to bed.
10. Limit naps to a maximum of 30 minutes and try to take the naps earlier in the day.