We live under this illusion that sleep is optional. We have a belief that to succeed, we have to sacrifice our sleep. It’s like a badge of honor. However, sleep is a unifier, we all require it. Have you ever considered that the amount of sleep you get can affect your weight and every aspect of your health?
Let’s face it, when we’re tired we tend to make fewer healthy choices throughout the day, and we reach for the quick-fix energy boost we need, often in the form of sugar-filled options and processed snacks. When we’re tired, we also tend to skip the workout we had planned for the day.
For many people, this is an ongoing cycle that’s tough to break.
Adequate sleep sets the stage for everything else.
“When it comes to body weight, it may be that if you snooze, you lose. Lack of sleep seems to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly to obesity. According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.
Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. “Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite. Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin.
Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Ongoing studies are considering whether adequate sleep should be a standard part of weight loss programs” – WebMD
Sleep can also affect your immune function, the aging process, memory, learning, and metabolism
Yes, adequate sleep is a big deal!
Have you heard the analogy, ‘sleeping is like parking the car in the garage for the night?’ This is so far from the truth! “It’s more like a car driving on autopilot running essential errands for you. One of the essential errands is cleaning up the toxins that accumulate during the day.”
Now you’re not only tired; you’re preventing your body from ridding itself of all the toxins you accumulated. Eww.
And guess what else.
Lack of sleep also increases the hunger hormone called ghrelin.
Grhelin is what makes you reach for that second—or tenth—I’ve never done that, I’m sure you’ve never done that!—it’s what makes us reach for the second or tenth chocolate chip cookie because you remember how beautiful they taste.
So, lack of sleep increases ghrelin. Therefore, it increases cravings.
Add to that the fact that when you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t have enough energy. When you don’t have enough energy, your body goes looking for quick energy sources, like sugar, or caffeine.
Now, the thing that’s interesting is that good sleep for a lot of people isn’t something that just happens unless you’re a baby or a teenager, and even for some babies it doesn’t just happen—teenagers usually do pretty well with sleep. So, it’s tough to sleep well when as a culture we eat late dinners; we’re up late answering emails we’re surfing the net, we’re working. And then we sort of hop right into bed, some of us watch the evening news, and it’s all about disaster, pain, and suffering in the world, so it’s tough to calm down and go to sleep.
Create a “power down hour.”
A good power down – or transition – ritual is key to better sleep. One of the most important steps you can take in this routine is turning off your phone and “gently escorting your phone out of your bedroom.”
What I recommend is one hour before you want to go to sleep, power down all of your electronics, like TV, smartphone, and computers. And in that hour, you create a ritual of things you do before bed to sort of ready your system physically and psychologically for sleep.
You know what the craziest thing about this “power down hour” is? We do this with our kids! (if you have kids or fur babies you know.)
How long did you work on getting your kid to turn in at a specific time to ensure they slept enough to be in a good mood the next day? Hell, I’m still working on it with my daughter. I can’t just put her in bed and expect her to fall asleep. She has a ritual (kind of). I’m sure your little one has a ritual too… And, I can almost guarantee your kid’s routine does not involve screen time. On the contrary. You most likely read a bedtime story with a real physical book.
Here’s how you can start your ritual.
Start by setting a goal of what time you need to be in bed each night to get the 7 to 9 hours you need. Try it this week and see if you notice a difference in your energy level and your eating habits.
Why 7 to 9 hours?
I’m sure you’ve heard that the average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep to feel fully recharged. This isn’t true for everyone, so if you’re one of those people who do good after 4 to 5 hours, it’s because you have a genetic mutation. Unfortunately, we can’t train ourselves to have a genetic mutation.
I challenge you to make the following commitment:
I’m committing to getting _______ hour of sleep each night this week.
A commitment I recently made is giving the closing scene of my day to what I’m grateful for. This allows me to focus on what the things I appreciate and is my chance to brain dump. I’ve been noticing how I’m in a happier state when I wake up because my mind wasn’t racing with crap from the day before.
For some helpful resources to help you start transforming your sleep, can download my How to Sleep tips here + check our Arianna Huffington’s free resources over at The Sleep Revolution. There are hundreds of natural, alternative therapies. Even those of you with extreme insomnia can benefit and see results from some of these therapies.
Now, I want to hear from you.
How many hours of sleep are you committing to getting each night this week?
What do you need to say no to to get your necessary hours of sleep?
What is one action you can take to make sleep a higher priority in your life and what one action step can you start implementing tonight?
Leave a comment below and let us know.
Thank you so much for reading and joining the conversation.
I’m truly grateful for your participation,
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P.p.s If you’d like to watch the MarieTV episode you can do so here vvvvvvvv