Sleep More, Eat Less
Believe it or not, you burn calories more efficiently when you get adequate sleep. And since Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend and our sleeping habits are naturally knocked off course, this might be the perfect time to get a grip on your rest.
How it works
Sleep is an important piece of the weight-control puzzle. Research shows that sleep-deprived adults and children are more likely to be overweight. There is actually a direct correlation between hours of sleep missed and degree of overweight.
Sleep-deprivation alters hormones that regulate the appetite. When sleep is limited, the appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, is increased and the hormone that triggers fullness, leptin, is decreased. Furthermore, people with the greatest hormonal changes crave more carbohydrates, like ice cream and bread. As it turns out, a sleep-deprived body processes glucose less efficiently, and so the body wants more. The final blow comes from cortisol, a hormone released during stress. Cortisol levels rise when sleep is lacking and high levels of cortisol result in fat storage in the lower abdomen - the dreaded belly fat.
Reset your biological clock
People who are careful about eating and exercise, often don’t realize the harm they create by missing sleep. The average American sleeps 6.9 hours a night, but adults need at least eight hours and teens need at least nine.
To get back on track, make a point of going to bed and getting up earlier. Instead of springing ahead with bedtime, stick to your winter schedule when the clocks change. Wind-down 45 minutes before bedtime and read a boring book to get to sleep. Avoid caffeinated products after mid-day and alcohol in the evening because it disturbs sleep. Get regular exercise to make yourself tired, and keep your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
After you get caught-up on sleep, notice whether you aren’t quite so hungry or craving sweets - and if some of that belly fat has melted away!
Your thoughts are welcome! What keeps you from your sleep? What have you done to correct the problem?