by Cammi Balleck CTN
Recently my husband took me on a peak experience. We climbed several mountains, walked through beautiful fields of millions of wild flowers, and hiked into hidden waterfalls. It was a great trip, but being up before the sun has a way of wearing me out. I know many of you are sleep deprived and I wanted to explain how sleep is the most important factor in weight loss and weight control, and most people are deprived of it for one reason or another.
The most simple and impactful habit you can change to get healthy and maintain your goals is to get your sleep. Here are seven reasons sleep is vitally important to making real, lasting changes in your life.
- Sleep prevents stress.
Lack of sleep is a message to your body that you are under stress, which sends a message to your brain to increase cortisol levels. High cortisol levels affect your overall health and weight. Furthermore, elevated levels of cortisol in your body can mess with your circadian rhythm and a solid night’s sleep.
- Sleep regulates blood sugar.
Raised cortisol also creates an imbalance in insulin and blood-sugar levels, causing us to not only crave (and eat) more carbs ( and sugar), but also store more fat, especially around the mid-section.
- Sleep helps you wake up easier in the morning.
Sure, this one is a little obvious, but waking up rested allows you to have a nourished morning which in turns sets the tone for the rest of your day. A good morning routine includes drinking water, having a healthy protein breakfast, and allowing yourself enough time to get out of the house without feeling stressed before the day even starts.
- Sleep positively influences your food choices.
When we’re tired, we often reach for coffee and sugar to jolt our energy levels and keep us going.
Lack of rest also leads to poor choices when it comes to food, since exhaustion usually begets reaching for something to eat that’s easy and comforting (rarely healthy choices). Making healthy food choices takes positive intention and effort, things that aren’t possible without a well-rested mind. Making healthy food choices consistently is one of the keys to effective weight loss.
- Sleep can prevent mental (and physical) health issues.
Feeling grumpy? depressed? Moody? Irritable? Impatient? You might want to take a look at your sleep patterns. We know that chronically high cortisol levels can cause weight gain and health issues like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and a weaker immune system, but it can also cause mental health issues like mood swings, memory loss, lack of focus, and impeded alertness ( and grumpiness) .
- Sleep slows the aging process.
Lack of sleep causes inflammation to the body which affects both weight and overall health and causes us to age. When your body has too much cortisol, collagen (the protein that keeps skin looking young and smooth) breaks down, leaving wrinkles and dry, sallow skin instead. Raised cortisol levels also slow down cell regeneration, negatively impacting muscle and bone health.
- Sleep is a motivator.
When we’re tired and exhausted, we don’t feel motivated to do much more than sit on the couch and watch TV instead of getting up and being actively engaged in something. On the flip-side, getting enough quality sleep leaves us with almost a full day of energy … more than enough to do whatever we need to do.
If you can’t sleep contact me for help. Insomnia is caused by a cortisol imbalance, other hormone imbalance or can be a deficiency in minerals or other nutrients.