Are you Hangry? Do you realize you can actually help control your appetite by doing something that is primal and vital to our living? SLEEP! Why in the world do we wear it as a badge of honor that “I only need 4-5 hours of sleep”? Quality sleep not only will help you build muscle, but will also help prevent the “hangry” feeling which leads to overeating and eating junk. Your mind and your body will thank you for getting more quality sleep – 7 hours to be exact – consistently.
In this 3-part series on sleep, we will explore why sleep matters to your physical and psychological health, how you can address your sleep patterns and sleep disorders and some interesting facts you may not realize about what’s happening when you are between the sheets. Getting quality sleep will help to ward off heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. No wonder the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have claimed sleep deprivation as a legitimate public health concern!
Sleep deprivation is a serious health concern that can lead to heart disease, low productivity, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, mood swings and eventually death. The three reasons why sleep deprivation is so dangerous are: alteration in glucose metabolism, increased appetite, and decreased energy expenditure. For those suffering from Thyroid issues, during sleep deprivation thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) becomes significantly elevated and remains elevated throughout the day. Not good.
It can also stop your fitness plan in its tracks. Here’s why:
1- Researchers at Columbia University found that those who sleep less than 7 hours weigh more and are at an increased risk of developing diabetes or heart disease.
2- Increases appetite – for junk and for larger portions. Lack of quality sleep leads to the munchies. So, if you take a sleep deprived nation and fill it with a Starbucks and 7-Eleven on virtually every corner, what do you think you’ll get? Sleep loss triggers chemicals that light up the brain’s pleasure centers in response to food.
- Slows your metabolism: The rate that the body burns calories when at rest is 5% higher in people who sleep better, compared with poor sleepers, shows research from Uppsala University in Sweden.
- Torches Fat Loss: A recent study from the University of Chicago found that people who ate the same number of calories yet got more burned more fat than those who got less than 5 ½ hours.
Some simple fixes if you are feeling sleep deprived:
Get control of your cortisol. The stress hormone can be your #1 culprit for sleep issues. Check in with Megan, our Nutrition Therapist.
Take a probiotics / aggressively address your gut health: New research shows that 80% of your body’s melatonin is actually made in your gut.
Eat breakfast: Studies show women who skip breakfast have higher circulating cortisol levels in the afternoon.
5 minute flow: Moving for 5 or 10 minutes (preferably between 7 and 8am) is all you need to do to combat low morning cortisol and help your cortisol levels rise.
Eat leafy greens: These include spinach leaves, broccoli and kale. They are high in the mineral, folate which is important for hormones, energy and repairing cells.
- Turn off the “lights”: Instead of blackout curtains, which prevent you from sensing the morning light of the day which can increase your melatonin, wear a sleep mask. This will block out most of the light but allow you to sense daylight so that it can start shifting your hormones once the sun rises or buy a light-simulator clock. Another idea to consider is to live without your sunglasses for at least 10 minutes to ensure you get direct light exposure to your eyes.
- No electrical devices in the bedroom: That means no clock radios, TVs, computers while you sleep. They can interfere with melatonin production in these vital night hours – and keep your brain awake.
In our next post about sleep, we will discuss the current trend in sleep issues: increased blue light/screen time – band-aid solution of sleep medication (60 million sleep meds dispensed in 2011) and explore alternatives that can lead to healthy sleep.
So between now and then, your homework is to get some more ZZZZZZs.