Want to Lose Weight? Try Hitting the Snooze ButtonLisanne Wellness Center
How often do you find yourself casually bragging about how little sleep you got the night before? You’re certainly not alone. Sleep deprivation has taken on a place of honor in our culture. If we’re not sleeping, we must be busy and successful, right? Wrong. The problem with this mentality is that sleep deprivation leads to everything but success. Sleep deprivation makes us sloppy, illogical, unfocused, and prone to making poor decisions. In fact, a slower than usual response time and poor judgement from a lack of sleep are blamed as factors in the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster of 1986. And it’s not just our mental agility that suffers when we sacrifice sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation is also associate with weight gain and obesity.
Why sleep deprivation causes weight gain:
According to a recent study presented at the American Heart Association conference, after sleeping for only four hours (instead of the recommended 7-8), people are more likely to overeat the next day. The effect is worse for women, who consume an average of 329 more calories when they’re sleep deprived. (Men consume 263 more calories when they’re not getting enough shut eye.)
In the study, these calories came primarily from high-protein foods and high fat foods. Women were especially likely to gravitate toward fatty foods like ice cream. The reason for this overeating is likely because when you don’t get enough sleep, you struggle to keep your energy reserves high enough to get through the day. A quick energy burst from sugar or simple carbs is especially tempting. Also, when you’re sleep deprived, you have less willpower to turn down the snacks that often litter the office and lunchroom.
How much sleep do we need?
The actual amount of sleep each person needs fluctuates throughout their life based on factors like their age and activity levels. For instance, pregnant women need more sleep than women who are not pregnant, and children need more sleep than adults. However, as a general rule, adults should all be getting between 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. This allows for between 5-6 full sleep cycles, depending on your personal cycle length.
How to get more shut-eye
Get a smart alarm clock: A typical sleep cycle includes light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep (when you dream). This cycle is about 90 minutes long. A typical alarm clock will sound at a predetermined time regardless of what stage of sleep you are in. A smart alarm clock (like the Sleep Cycle app) will wake you up within 15-30 minutes of the time you choose based on when you’re in the lightest possible sleep stage, so you wake up easily without feeling groggy.
Stick to a schedule: One of the best ways to consistently get enough sleep is by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends). When your body is used to getting to bed by, say, 10 p.m. and waking up at 6:00 a.m., it will do so easily. When you stay up late on Friday and Saturday and sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, it makes it hard to adjust back to the week; it’s like experiencing jet lag on a weekly basis.
Switch to “night mode”: One of the best ways to get ready for a good night of sleep is to limit your exposure to light. Your body naturally produces Melatonin (a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle) based on your exposure to light. Your brain naturally produces more melatonin when it’s dark. To produce as much melatonin as possible, turn off the lights and all screens in your house an hour or two before bedtime. If you must use your cell phone, switch it to “night mode” which replaces the bright blue light with a red light. Light some candles to see, and start letting your brain slip into slumber mode.
Take a supplement: Supplements like melatonin and IDLife Sleep can help trigger a sleep response so you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Melatonin is a replica of the sleep hormone your body already produces. IDLife Sleep Strips contain a mix of nutrients and minerals like melatonin, L-Theanine and 5HTP, to support all three phases of the sleep cycle.
Are you concerned that a lack of sleep may be impacting your ability to lose weight (or keep weight off)? Call Lisanne Wellness Center today at 713-461-WELL. Our functional medicine experts can guide you into healthy eating and lifestyle changes that promote a healthy sleep routine and weight loss. Our weight loss programs can be customized for your specific needs. Call now to schedule a wellness consultation today.