I’m sure most of you are aware that when you don’t get enough sleep you can easily start to gain weight. Why is that? Well here are the answers, some extra info and suggestions that might just make you turn in a little earlier…
Compared to the 1960′s, 37% of people get less than 7 hours of sleep a night, I don’t know about you but I can hardly function without at least 8 hours of sleep. Research has easily proven that less than 6 hours a night can lead to increased weight gain and the inability to lose extra pounds (even with exercise and a good diet). When a study had people sleep 5 hours a night for two nights in a row their Ghrelin (the hormone that tells you you’re hungry) increased and Leptin (the hormone that tells you you’re full) decreased. Now as we age our Leptin levels decrease anyway causing all kinds of hormone imbalances, weight gain being only one of the “symptoms”, so why on earth would you want to sleep less and decrease leptin even more?!
Think people! Participants in that recent sleep study increased their calories by over 200 per day, which could cause a weight increase of a pound every two weeks without you even knowing it. The worst part was that the foods that were consumed were usually from carb rich snacks because the leptin levels needed a boost, which is easier done with sugars and starches. So why do the hormones change? Sleep restriction has been associated with increased sympathetic nerve activity, that’s the stress system in the body aka fight or flight response. This also affects your glucose metabolism and insulin resistance ie weight gain. Bottom line: People who sleep less than 6 hours per night are more likely to battle hormone problems which leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, irritability and weight gain from appetite increase. So what can you do?
- Watch TV or be on the computer before bed, the light from them causes a disruption in the brain that makes it harder to fall asleep.
- Read a scary book before bed, at least I know it affects me!
- Drink alcohol, it might make you tired and you think you slept well, but you don’t. Your brain is still active.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
- Eat a healthy diet
- Take 3-6mg of melatonin, as we age this sleep hormone decreases, so boost it back up, you can’t take too much or become addicted.
- Read a happy book before bed, it calms the brain and lets you have positive dreams.
- Wear an eye mask or make sure the room is completely dark, even a little light can keep the brain active
- Drink chamomile tea or sleepytime tea fro Celestial Seasonings (yay local to CO!)
AUTHOR: Jennifer Tingstad