Do you suffer from intense cravings that will make you drive to the next town for a hot fudge sundae or your favorite donuts? Have you struggled with your weight for most of your life? Have you had a gym membership for years but don’t seem to have the energy to workout?
If so, you may not be getting enough sleep. Research suggests that the quality and quantity of sleep you get are contributing factors for weight gain, fatigue, mood disorders, diabetes, and heart disease. So, why is sleep so important? Sleep is like your body’s reset. While your sleep your growth hormones are produced, tissues grow and repair, hormones are regulated, blood pressure is lowered and your stress hormones (cortisol) decreases.
If your goal is to maintain or lose weight, get enough sleep. People who don’t get enough sleep tend to have bigger appetites because sleep affects the hormones that affect your appetite. You may mistake the feeling of tiredness or fatigue for hunger and you may head to the refrigerator rather than the bed. Without enough sleep, you make be hindering your ability to lose weight, even if you are exercising and eating well.
If your goal is weight loss or maintenance, get enough sleep. Here are some tips to help you get a good night sleep.
- Keep a regular bed and wake up time, even on the weekends if possible.
- Finish eating 2-3 hours before going to bed to avoid reflux, fullness and discomfort.
- Try not to nap during the day, if you do, limit your nap to 10-15min.
- Get 30 minutes sun exposure in the morning to help you wake up, avoid bright lights in the evening. Help set your body’s clock.
- Get regular exercise; try to finish 4-6 hrs prior to bedtime.
- Restrict caffeine to before 10 am, or give it up all together. Caffeine affects you sleep patterns for up to 10-12 hours after consumption.
Don’t bring business or homework into the bedroom; no TV either. Keep the bedroom a quiet place for sleep and rest.
Erika Watson-Lawson is a registered dietitian with Memorial Hospital.