I promise this title wasn’t click bait. Sounds like a trick doesn’t it? You can’t possibly lose weight while you are sleeping. Well, that’s not entirely true. Curious how sleeping can help with weight loss? Well then keep reading 🙂
How could sleeping possibly lead to weight loss? Well let me tell you. Sleep can help regulate our appetite hormones, leptin and ghrelin. A proper night’s sleep is believed to help suppress ghrelin levels (the hormone responsible for making us feel hungry) and stimulate leptin (the hormone that decreases appetite). It also has an effect on the stress hormone, cortisol, which is pretty commonly known as the hormone that increases that stubborn belly fat.
Aside from helping to regulate our hormones, sleep allows our body to repair and recover. You’re probably familiar with this aspect of sleep, but how are these functions affected if you don’t get enough Zzz’s? Lack of sleep can potentially lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, etc. Do these sound familiar? They should. Do you see how this is starting to come full circle? Not only are they nutrition-related, they are LIFESTYLE diseases. This is why they can’t be fixed with a magic pill. It requires a LIFESTYLE change.
Chronic lack of sleep can have a snowball affect. Your immune system weakens, you get sick, you lose energy, you lose focus, patience, your mood is affected, the list goes on… which makes it harder to take care of yourself, and others, and it becomes a downward spiral. You know how when you’re on an airplane they tell you to put your own mask on before helping anyone else? It’s because you can’t take care of someone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself. This is true in any aspect of life. I know it may sound selfish for me to tell you to put yourself first, but are you doing your family any favors if you’re sick and miserable all of the time because you’re trying to put their needs first? Trust me, if you truly take care of yourself, the rest will follow.
So how much sleep should you get? I know you’ve heard the standard “experts recommend getting 8 hours of sleep a night,” but the truth is, many people can function on less. Establishing a sleep schedule is what is most important. To ensure you get good QUALITY sleep, keep technology off! I know, you use your phone as an alarm clock. BUY AN ALARM CLOCK. Here is one for $7!*
Let your brain wind down by reading a book or taking a bath, do some stretching or meditate. Write in a journal. Whatever floats your boat. Some studies say the most important factor to establishing a sleep routine is to wake up at the same time everyday. Even though your bedtime may change, getting up at the same time will help you feel more energetic throughout the day.
Let me tell you, I tried this, and it worked. I was NEVER a morning person. I would purposely set my alarm an hour early so I could hit snooze! I was the kind of person who would rather sleep in until the last possible minute rather than get up early and eat a good breakfast and do my hair and makeup. BUT, I knew that if I wanted to accomplish the goals I had set for myself, I needed to get up earlier so I had more time in the day. I set my alarm for 6am everyday. Even on weekends. I won’t lie, it was hard to get myself up, but once I actually got up, I was fine. I established a routine that not only helped improve my health (drinking a large glass of water first thing in the morning to get bowels moving and improve digestion, making a healthy breakfast, etc.) but it also allowed me to be MUCH more productive. I had more time to read, stretch, write, workout… all the things I claimed I would do if I wasn’t “so tired” or “if I had the time.”
Sleep was a tough thing for me to sacrifice. But I knew that to make a change I had to make sacrifices, and the results far outweigh hitting the snooze button every morning.
What would you do with extra time in the morning?
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