Sleep and Your Metabolism (Plus 9 Tips for Better Sleep)
The idea for this post, like so many others, was born from one of the most common challenges that our clients face: sleep. The ever-elusive sleep. Personally, I suffered from sleep challenges for years, and dismissed them as “normal” or “I’m just a light sleeper”. It wasn’t until a few years ago, as I began my journey into the health and wellness field, that I realized that not only were my sleep patterns not “normal”, but they were actually detrimental to my health. I was in bed for 8-9 hours a night, but the actual amount of time that I spent sleeping, or sleeping well, was minimal. Interestingly, many of our clients can relate. For many of them, sleep interferes with their ability to reach their health and weight loss goals. Whether having difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep, its important to understand the effects of sleep and sleeplessness, and to make the changes necessary to improve it.
According to The American Sleep Apnea Association, most adults spend about three-fifths of the night in light non-REM sleep, one-fifth in deep non-REM sleep, and one-fifth in REM sleep, cycling through the different phases throughout the night. Adults need between eight and eight and a half hours of sleep a night, with a minimum of seven hours. Still, inadequate sleep is an epidemic in our country, with the average adult sleeping less than six hours a night, and a high prevalence of sleep disorders. (Sleepapnea.org)
So what’s the big deal? Lack of sleep impacts your overall health. Sleep deficit can leave to poor cognition and drowsiness, a safety hazard for many. If prolonged, sleep deprivation can lead to illness, such as cardiovascular disease or even cancer. Research also suggests that inadequate sleep can cause weight gain, and is considered a factor in the national obesity epidemic. According to this 2010 study, adequate sleep may cause metabolic dysregulation. There is growing evidence indicating that sleep loss has a significant impact on metabolism and weight. They note that “sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating metabolism…studies have suggested that chronic partial sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of obesity and diabetes.” Additionally, lack of sleep interferes with insulin levels and can cause cravings for sugars and processed carbs, leading to…yep, weight gain.
Ok, so now you have the information, but what do you do about it? There are actually several interventions you can try in your own bedroom. (If still having difficulty after trying these things, please contact us or a professional sleep expert top help resolve your sleep challenges.)
- Darkness. Even if getting enough sleep, light in the room can be detrimental by lowering melatonin levels. Cover windows with blankets or blackout curtains and create total darkness.
- Limit or eliminate blue light for at least an hour before bedtime. Yep, that means no phone, TV, iPad, computer…you get it.
- Limit EMFs (Electro-magnetic fields). Radiation-emitting devices such as a cellphone, computer, and wifi, can be affecting your sleep! Try turning these devices off completely before heading to dreamland.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
- Use Essential Oils. Diffuse or apply oils such as lavender, cedar wood or orange for a more restful night’s sleep.
- Deep breaths. This works without fail when I’m having difficulty falling to going back to sleep. Deep, slow inhales and exhales.
- Yoga. Try this 5 minute Yoga Sequence for Better Sleep before bed.
- Drink chamomile tea. Chamomile actually has sedative effects and helps induce sleep.
- Stick to a bedtime routine. Just like children, adults sleep better when in a routine. Try to go to bed at the same time each night, and stick as closely as you can to your bedtime rituals.
Let us help you get on the path to better sleep and improved metabolic functioning! 215-360-3083