How Sleep and Weight Loss are Connected
Here's surprising information about the link between sleep and weight loss.
A study published in June 2006 in the International Journal of Obesity found that sleep deprivation contributed to weight gain. Another study of more than 68,000 middle-aged women found that those who slept for 5 hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain (33 pounds or more) over the course of the 16-year study compared with women who slept 7 hours.
Women who slept for 6 hours were 12% more likely to have major weight gain compared with women who slept 7 hours a night.
The researchers aren't sure why less sleep contributes to weight gain, but one theory is that sleeping less may affect changes in a person's metabolism.
Personally, I think that the answer is in the link between stress and cortisol. When you're stressed, you're probably not sleeping well. And stress increases your cortisol production. As you probably know, high levels of cortisol are linked to increased fat storage in the stomach, hips, and thighs.
So there's enough evidence to make sure that you get enough sleep! Easier said than done, I know. With the pressures of work and family--and no way to squeeze more than 24 hours into a day--many people find that their sleep suffers.
Here's what I do for a good, restful night of sleep.
Tips to Get a Good Night's Sleep
- Cut the caffeine as early as possible. For me, that's no later than noon. That includes chocolate, too!
- Get to sleep by 10. Ayurvedic medicine maintains that our body's natural rhythms of sleep are from 10 PM to 6 AM. I find that this is true for me. You also get the most restorative sleep in the hours prior to 1 AM, so that's another reason to get to bed earlier.
- Keep your bedroom dark and silent. I use a fan for white noise (you can get one at WalMart for $10), and a mask for my eyes.
- Try magnesium, the relaxation mineral. This works wonders for me. I take 500 mg in a liquid form (ensures optimum absorption) just before bedtime. The product I use
combines magnesium with calcium and vitamin D.
- Avoid watching "stimulating" TV right before bed. There are a lot of stressful shows on at night, like reality shows and medical dramas. They certainly don't lend themselves to relaxing you, so read a good book or watch something less stressful instead.
- Use brainwave technology. This is my favorite way to relax at night--and I usually fall asleep listening to it! The
is a powerful way to ensure that you get to sleep quickly, and have a solid night of sleep. They offer two nap CDS (a 20-minute and 40-minute), and a "Dive" version for all-night sleep.(Be sure to use stereo headphones; if you need a set,
check these out
--for less than $11 you get great quality.)
- Be consistent. Try to go to bed at the same time every night (including on weekends), and get up at the same time every morning (yes, including weekends).
So make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep and weight loss will be easier. Sweet dreams!
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