I hear it every day…”I eat right, I workout almost every day and I just can’t seem to lose weight!” Usually my next question is “Well, how many hours of sleep do get each night?” Most of the time I hear answers such as:
1. Maybe 5 hours
2. I try, but I can’t sleep
3. I have too much on my mind and I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep
4. Etc….the reasons are endless…
I have been asking my clients about sleep lately and I am floored by how many people have sleep issues. I suffer from sleep issues, so I understand how tough it can be to get it under control. It’s horrible. I go to be around 10 and wake up at 2 am and cannot fall back asleep. I then have to get out of bed at 4:30 for work and I the next day is just horrible. I can barely function.
Our bodies generally need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. I know that seems unattainable for many of us. However, if we want to lose weight and stay healthy, we need to get it under control. What does sleep have to do with weight loss and body fat you ask? I could get into the scientific reasons regarding sleep and weight gain/loss. However, I’m going to make it simple. When we don’t sleep, we feel sluggish the next day and we do not want to exercise because we are so tired, we can barely function. We also may overload on caffeine just to stay awake and alert (I know I do). Our bodies also crave carbohydrates when we do not get enough sleep and we just don’t seem to feel satisfied regardless of what we eat. Lack of sleep can also lead to higher risk of getting sick. See the attached image….So what do you do now? Here are few tips:
1. stop drinking caffeine after 1 pm
2. no alcohol for at least 3 hours before bed
3. do NOT bring your laptop or smart phone in bed with you
4. do not watch TV in your bed. It should be for sleep only
5. go to bed one hour earlier to try to get a few extra zzzzs
6. before you go to bed, write down everything that you are worried about and give yourself permission to worry about it the NEXT DAY, not if you wake up in the middle of the night.
I have mastered most of the above but I am still struggling with number 3. I absolutely need to be in my bed when I watch my mindless TV at night! If you try the above tips and you still are having trouble, PLEASE call your doctor. Sleep is vital to our health!