You Are What You Sleep

You Are What You Sleepman_sleeping_002 

You’ve heard the old adage, “You are what you eat.” The truth of the matter is you are also what you sleep.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s not only hurting your body when it comes to important cell repair, which occurs during your sleep cycles. It is also working directly against your struggle to lose weight. Studies published in The Journal of the American Medical Association indicate that sleep loss may increase hunger and affect your body’s metabolism. In other words, a lack of sleep will make it more difficult for you to lose weight or maintain your weight loss.

Why? When you don’t get enough sleep, your body secretes more cortisol, the “stress hormone”. More cortisol can lead to increased hunger, and thus the vicious cycle of overeating begins. If you don’t get your rest then you might even feel hungry after eating enough all day long.

That’s not the only issue here. If you don’t get enough sleep then you’re flagging your body to increase your fat storage. At the same time, you’re hurting your chances to metabolize carbs, which in turn means higher blood sugar and spiked insulin levels. The end result is more fat storage in the body and even insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes.

Overweight people are trapped in a vicious sleep cycle. They might suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder where breathing stops and starts during sleep. They wake up several times all night long and feel terrible the next day. This chronic lack of sleep leads to all of the issues we just discussed.

What can you do to sleep for your health? First, remember that the quality of sleep matters too. You need to be in a deep sleep state that takes you through all the sleep cycles. Restorative deep or slow sleep will even help you produce human growth hormones, a protein that regulates the body’s proportions of fat and muscle.

A few additional tips:

  • Make sure your sleep environment is peaceful and not full of outside stimulants.
  • Don’t watch TV before bed, but wind down with some relaxing music or a cup of herbal tea.
  • Don’t eat before you go to bed (stop eating several hours before), but don’t go to bed hungry.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the late afternoon or evening because it will affect your sleep cycles.
  • Don’t nap during the afternoon. Naps don’t repair your body in the same way a night of great sleep does.
  • Remember that your good sleep habits will have several benefits. Studies show people who get eight hours of sleep each night tend to weigh less than people who sleep less. You will also reduce your anxiety levels and ward off depression, which will also stop emotional eating.

Here is a recipe for Simple Bliss Relaxing Tea…

Adapted from Herbal Teas, by Kathleen Brown

There’s nothing worse than “trying” to get to sleep. You can count as many sheep as you want, practice body relaxation techniques, or read your computer manual, but those eyes continue to remain agonizingly wide open!  So here is a super easy-to-make tea that will help you get a deep and relaxing night’s sleep.

Simple Bliss Tea is delicious, too–sip it slowly and feel the relaxation seep through your body. It’s very soothing and safe for daily use.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers per cup
1/4 cup vanilla hemp, almond, or coconut milk, per cup
Honey or maple syrup to sweeten (optional)

1. Pour boiling water over the chamomile, cover, and steep 15 to 20 minutes, until strong.

2. Add the milk and sweetener to taste.

Adapted from article by JJ Virgin, Celebrity Wellness Expert

What are some of the things you do to help you fall asleep?  I always try to read something inspirational and think about what I am grateful for before I go to sleep. 
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One response to this post.

  1. […] tea Nothing is more soothing that a cup of tea during the colder months of the year. Another study from Finland shows that 2,000 surveyed Finns […]

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