If you want to lose weight, you need better sleep habits. Improved sleep quality and quantity might be the missing component in your weight loss journey.
Sleep deprivation causes changes in the body's hormones. If one experiences chronic short nights of sleep (2 or more times a week), this deprivation begins to affect the body's innate balance, therefore making it easier to become stressed out, make poor food choices, and impede weight loss goals.
A sleep-deprived body is under stress. This stress elevates cortisol, and high cortisol levels mean lowered insulin sensitivity in the morning. When we are not insulin sensitive, we crave the food that will fuel us through our day. Often food that is high in refined flour and sugar. We consume more carbohydrates, fewer proteins, and fewer mineral-rich vegetables. We supplement with caffeine and caffeinated beverages. It is no wonder why the energy drink industry is worth more the 40 billion US dollars.
When we are sleep deprived, the body produces less leptin, the hormone that tells our body when we are satiated. The counterpunch is that we upregulate ghrelin, which then communicates that we are hungry. Many of us then reach for the wrong choices - never really feeling satisfied or nourished.
Other factors that accompany these hormonal imbalances are:
lack of rehabilitation and healing during the night
The problem, as I see it, is that we fuel our bodies with excess calories to get through the day. But we do not necessarily expend more energy. We tend to skip out on exercise because we are too tired, and we lean on Nutrition Bandits like mid-morning lattes and muffins, or energy drinks and sugary snacks. This sort of behavior might get us through the day, but it is no way to nourish the body and can completely sabotage our weight loss goals.
To increase the body's effectivity during a phase where weight loss is the focus, we must decrease inflammation in the body; this way, the cells are more receptive, and overall calorie burn is improved. Burning calories is not a simple "eat less - do more," but it is fair to mention that to drop one kilogram, you'll need to be in a 7000 calorie deficit. So all the unnecessary snacks to energize your sleep-deprived soul do more harm than good.
Good sleep habits, and choosing whole foods as a base for your health and wellness, will aid in your weight loss journey. Other factors like your gut health and genetics play into how efficient you assimilate nutrients, produce hormones, and generally adapt to new eating habits. Which will determine the time it takes for you to shed the extra weight.
So let's circle back.
Good sleep is vital to your overall health and is a key facture in reaching your weight loss goals.
Here is a list of ideas to help you settled in at the end of the day:
Cut the caffeine out by 1600 (if not earlier)
Turn the TV, iPad, laptop, smartphone off early
Meditate or journal
Don't sleep with your smartphone in the room- blue light can interfere with your circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion
Buy an alarm clock - they are still round
Have a bath before bed
Do some light stretching
Drink teas like chamomile and valerian 30 minutes before bed for a restful sleep, they also aid digestion and are packed full of antioxidants
Read something for fun; it is OK to relax with a book that makes you feel good
Create a space of peace before you recharge your batteries
Your waistline will thank you!