Could your lack of sleep be impacting on your ability to lose weight?
This week it’s time to focus on getting enough sleep and work on building healthy habits into your nightly routines.
Last week I know I didn’t get enough sleep. I went to bed late on numerous nights and as a result I had a bad start to the days that followed. Oversleeping left me with wild hair, unshaved legs, an unhealthy packed lunch and the possibility of a speeding fine as I tried to make up on lost time driving to work.
Skimping on sleep is a bad idea. It dulls activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the bit of the brain responsible for decision-making and impulse control. WebMD cites numerous research publications that highlight how sleep-deprived people are more likely to indulge in late-night snacking and more likely to choose high-carb snacks. Lack of sleep correlates with serving yourself bigger portions and an increase in cravings for high-carbohydrate foods. It also makes you “metabolically groggy” as it impacts on your body’s ability to process insulin (a hormone needed to change sugar, starches and other food into energy). This can lead to your body having trouble processing fat from your bloodstream which in turn encourages your body to store fat. In short, too little sleep can increase your bad eating habits and hamper your metabolism which can contribute directly to gaining weight.
So what can we do?
It’s important to develop good night-time routines. You might want to plan in advance when you would like to go to bed and think about how you can create rituals that will be conducive to a good night’s sleep. For me these include:
Switching off all my screens (TV, laptop, cell phone etc.) at a reasonable hour.
Preparing for sleep with a herbal tea, a book, a warm bath or a relaxing meditation.
Turning off the lights and allowing the darkness to cue your body to release the natural sleep hormone melatonin.