Sleep is probably the most important health tonic you can provide your body. Yet, so many health and wellness plans do not address the issue of sleep.
Trust me with having a new born at home, Arin and I really understand what sleep deprivation is and how it can affect your body, mind, and productivity.
You see sleep is essential to health and survival. Even if you don’t eat very well, you can still expect to live around 75 years. Now, the quality of your life may be impacted by poor eating but you still may make it to that ripe old age of 75.
Fun Fact: The Guinness World Record for sleep deprivation is 11 days.
Did you know that that the average adult gets about 7 hours of sleep per night, and 33% of the population gets fewer than 6.5 hours per night. Now I understand why it feels like the world is so cranky and distracted sometimes!
Studies suggest that people who sleep fewer than 6 hours per night gain almost twice as much weight over a 6-year period as people who sleep 7 to 8 hours per night. Excessive sleep isn’t necessarily better: those who sleep more than 9 hours per night have similar body composition outcomes as those who sleep less than 6 hours.
Many times people will blame the lack of sleep on work demands or we just can’t get our brains to shut off at night. But, if you really look at it most people lose sleep due to voluntary bedtime delay. We typically cut back on sleep because we choose to. We watch TV, browse the internet, go out with friends, or have one to many alcoholic beverages. If we would remove forms of artificial stimulation and excessive work/life demands, most of us would likely sleep for around 8 hours per night based the natural sleep/wake cycle of our brain.
Many people do not realize the impact lack of sleep can have on our body compositions. Lack of sleep has been demonstrated in multiple studies to increase the likelihood of obesity significantly. If you’re consistently getting less than 7 hours of sleep you are more likely to see an increase in your body fat. Scientists are speculating that sleep deprivation could disrupt the hormones that regulate appetite, which results in body fat accumulation.
While there are many reasons that lack of sleep could influence body fat, one area that has shown a significant impact is the disruption of hormones. When your body does not get enough sleep it will start to reduce the amount of growth hormone, along with (TSH) a thyroid stimulating hormone, and an increase in cortisol. Lack of sleep has also been shown to induce a slow insulin response in the body. With all this negative hormonal activity we are just creating a perfect storm for the body to pack on the pounds of body fat.
We coach a lot of clients who are trying to reduce the amount of body fat and lean out. With this in mind, you cannot neglect the power of proper sleep and its ability to create a better environment for fat loss. So, I am going to give you a few tips to help you generate better sleeping patterns:
- Consistency: Keep a relatively consistent bedtime and wake time. Staying up late and sleeping in on weekends can disrupt your routine during the week.
- Light: Keep the bedroom extremely dark.
- Watch What You Drink: The best sleep is deep sleep (also known as REM sleep). Even though alcohol may make you sleepy, having it in your system delays your body’s ability to get into deep sleep.
- Relaxation/routine: Develop a pre-bed routine that is relaxing and familiar. Television, work, computer use, movies and deep/stressful discussions late at night can disrupt sleep.
- Temperature: Keep a slightly cool temperature in the room, between 66-72 F or 18-22 C.
- Stimulants: Eliminate stimulants like caffeine/nicotine, especially later in the day.
- Exercise: It’s not only good for a tight butt and big guns, it can help improve sleep.
- Fullness: Eating a dinner that makes you overly full can disturb sleep.
Remember you need to develop a great foundation of exercise and nutrition to help in the reduction of your body fat, but do not forget about sleep. Sleep can be the missing component if you have plateaued with your fat loss journey. If you’re someone who needs help with your health and wellness please just contact us for a Free Consultation.
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