Sunday, May 04, 2008
Sleep does amazing things because that's when your body starts to repair itself - your brain assimilates the days information, your endocrine system optimizes and normalizes hormones, your body rebuilds skin, muscles, organs, detox's the body, etc., etc.
Have you ever been around a young child who hasn't slept enough - they're very cranky and cry a lot. As we grow up and become "adults", we hold back our emotions and it comes out as anger and hostility ... we become short tempered and irritable when we don't sleep enough.
But, if you're like me, you are either limited in sleep time due to your busy schedule or you have a hard time falling asleep at night.
So, let's discuss some options. But before that, here's something interesting about sleep and weight loss:
Sleep More To Lose FAT
Obesity rates in America (and around the world) have dramatically increased in the past 10 years.
Sure, people don't exercise enough (or at all) and many people eat junk, fast foods, etc. But have things really changed so much in just a decade? ...
I say that because even 20 years ago, people exercised even LESS, same amount of junk food, but with even LESS "healthy" options.
So, there's got to be another reason and it's SLEEP!
Every Hour = 118 Calories Of FAT ...
What's interesting is recent studies show that people on average are sleeping 1.5 hours LESS every day, than they use to in the 1970's. Inadequate sleep interferes with hormones that control appetite and PROMOTE nighttime eating.
Growth hormone, cortisol, leptin and ghrelin are important fat burning and appetite regulators.
Simply stated, the less you sleep, the worse your hormones are, which leads to excess fat gain (especially in stubborn areas like legs, butt, stomach, etc.)
Also, every hour you are awake, is another hour you can eat. Most people eat an extra 118 calories for every hour they remain awake.
This adds to nearly a pound of FAT gained every month!
• Take a walk before going to bed. It helps clear your mind and relaxes the body too.
Don't listen to any music or things that will "pump you up". Just walk and be alone with your thoughts. 20-30 minutes is all you need (it's great for weight loss too!).
• Write in a journal before bed. Again, this has to do with clearing your mind and putting it at ease.
I know there are things bothering you that you can't really express to other people. You may not want to burden someone else or come off as a "complainer".
So, just vent in your own personal and private journal. You can do it in a booklet with pen and paper, or an electronic journal on your computer with password protection (that's what I use sometimes).
• Take a really hot shower or bath, light candles and put on some relaxing music.
Maybe guys will skip the candles and music part, but taking a hot bath or shower really helps relax BOTH the body and mind.
• Eat something before bed, with a little bit of healthy carbohydrates. This whole crazy idea that you shouldn't eat late is just stupid.
Babies eat all the time and they listen to their bodies. Just don't have pizza or junk food. Have something little, but make sure there are carbs and protein in it.
Cottage cheese, rice cake with tuna or egg whites, a mini fruit salad with yogurt, etc. Keep it to 200 calories or less and make sure you have some carbs, since that will increase serotonin levels and help you relax. Having only protein before bed will surely keep you up and awake.
In fact, a simply remedy is just have half a banana by itself. The natural release of both tryptophan and serotonin will help relax your mind.
• Don't forget to limit your liquid intake the last 2-3 hours before sleep. For many people, getting up and urinating in the middle of the night causes them to stay awake and they have a hard time falling back to sleep.
• And MOST importantly, LIMIT "LIGHT" exposure. There are thousands of studies clearly showing that when your eye sees light - from the sun, light bulbs and your TV or computer screen, you have a much harder time falling asleep.
In fact, there was a study I read a little while back where scientist would shine a flashlight on the back of someone's leg (not on their face or eyes) and that ALONE kept them from falling asleep (your skin has "light" sensors).
Needless to say, dim the lights the last hour before bed, try NOT to watch TV and read a book.
I didn't want to list this because it's so obvious - but if you are a big time coffee and soda drinker and hence, caffeine is your best friend - STOP IT! Caffeine is one major reason your brain isn't relaxing and sleeping. So, don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise!
Nap Time Anyone?
Lastly, sleep isn't the ONLY form of "recuperation". Taking mini naps, putting your feet up for 10 minutes periodically through out the day and just thinking of a happy Island to go to or something else fun, is also very beneficial!