Sleep your way to weight-loss
Apart from making us grouchy and miserable, lack of sleep also has an impact on our waistline. Researchers found that even though those who are sleep deprived still burn up calories, they consume 300 more calories a day than those who consistently have a good night’s sleep.
When we don’t get enough sleep, our body lacks energy and produces the hormone cortisol. This suggests to the body that it requires more food in order to get our energy going. To make matters worse the body also secretes ghrelin that sends out hunger messages. Leptin the hormone that tells us when we have satisfied our hunger does not get secreted if we are sleep deprived.
Experts say that we should get at least seven and a half hours sleep a day. This ensures that we experience REM sleep (rapid eye movement) which is so important for our mental and physical health.
Also, when we are sleep deprived, the food choices we make are likely to be rushed and we tend to choose comfort foods that can lead to weight gain.
Eve Van Cauter, director of the Sleep, Metabolism and Health Centre at Chicago University, accepts that we have unique and different sleep needs. As we grow older there is a tendency to need less sleep. She suggests a simple way to work out our personal sleep needs. When on holiday, she says, go to bed at your usual time and do not use an alarm clock to wake yourself. Initially you may find that you catch up on lost sleep, but eventually you will get a consistent idea of your sleep needs, give or take 15 minutes.
The question we also need to ask ourselves is why we are under sleeping. What kinds of stressors are influencing us and what can be done about it? Hypnotherapy and guided imagery can play a crucial role in helping us get back to a healthy sleep pattern. Sleep is another area that needs to be looked at when we want to lose weight.
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