Sleep is intricately tied to health and to weight loss, but perhaps in a way you didn’t realize. Besides adding to stress, depression and irritability, poor sleep habits have been linked to obesity, diabetes, reduced growth hormone release and increased inflammation among other things. Even moderate sleep deprivation causes changes equivalent to being legally intoxicated. Driving while sleep deprived is as dangerous as driving under the influence!
It’s been known for some time that not getting enough sleep can lead to overeating and weight gain by increasing levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite and decreasing leptin, the satiety hormone, resulting in craving carbs and sugary foods. In fact even just one night of sleep deprivation causes this to happen.
Perhaps you’ve been told that the hours you sleep before midnight are more restorative than those after, no matter how many hours total you sleep. There is something to this, as I explain in Today is Still the Day. I share that research and Chinese medicine reveal that sleep between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am are more restorative than sleeping from 3 am to 11 am even though both are 8 hour stretches. The reason being that our organs have specific times of renewal and restoration and if you don’t get to sleep until later, you miss that window of opportunity and the organs suffer.
While you may have heard those reasons, this is one you may not be familiar with. All too often many of us feel tired early but push through to finish a project, or clean the house or watch a favorite show. No big deal right? Maybe it is a bigger deal than you realized. If you don’t get to sleep when you are tired, your body releases cortisol (the stress hormone) to keep you awake. This stress response is damaging to your body all by itself, but it also makes it more difficult to fall asleep when you want to and it then becomes a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation, being overtired and stressed. You end up tired but wired and unable to sleep. I discuss this in more detail in Today is Still the Day and provide strategies for getting more restful, restorative sleep.
Do you think lack of adequate, restful sleep could be the missing piece to your weight loss efforts?
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