Sleep, glorious sleep

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
― Homer, The Odyssey

Does sleep have any impact on weight loss?

Authors Jonno Proudfoot and the Real Meal Revolution team, teach that Banting 2.0 is a lifestyle embracing diet, sleep, relationships, social interactions and being aware of stress.
Good sleep is non-negotiable if a) you want to be generally awesome, and b) you specifically want to keep the weight off. If you’re well rested your metabolic rate will be higher than when you’re tired, allowing you to burn more fat in your daily activities; the hormones that regulate your hunger will be more stable, along with your emotional state, making you less susceptible to unnecessary comfort eating; and your mental acuity and decision-making will be significantly sharper, allowing you to make better eating decisions and stick to your plans with more conviction.

Associations between reduced sleep and weight gain in women have been documented in The American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol 164, Issue 10, 15th November 2006, Pages 947 – 954. In fact, a single night of sleep deprivation increases ghrelin levels and feelings of hunger in normal, healthy-weight men. Ghrelin is a hormone that is secreted by the cells of the stomach which promotes hunger. Journal of Sleep Research, Vol. 17, Issue 3, September 2008, Pages 331 -334.
John Arden, PhD, author of The Brain Bible, points out that sleep deprivation can lead to a heightened risk of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, all serious threats to the brain. The endocrine system and metabolic changes resulting from sleep deprivation mimic many of the hallmarks of aging and increase the severity of medical conditions such as diabetes.
Dr. Arden’s guidelines to improve the quality and hours of sleep, are as follows:

Don’t do anything in bed other than sleep or have sex.
Don’t watch television, discuss finances with your spouse, or argue in bed. Make the bed carry only one association – sleep.
If you can’t sleep, get up and go to another room.
Don’t try too hard to go to sleep. It will increase your stress and lead to a paradoxical effect.
Try telling yourself, “It’s okay if I get just a few hours of sleep tonight, I will catch up the next night.” This change in expectation will free you to be able to relax and get to sleep. The harder you try to go to sleep, the harder it will be to induce sleep.
Avoid drinking large quantities of liquid at night. This will lower the sleep threshold and cause you to wake up to urinate.
Avoid bright light at least a few hours before going to sleep. Don’t work on the computer into the evening.
Do all planning for the next day before you get into bed. If you think of something you need to do the next day, get up and write it down. This will help postpone thinking or worrying about anything until the next day.
Avoid all daytime naps. Think of naps as stealing sleep from the night-time.
Avoid protein snacks at night because protein blocks the synthesis of serotonin and as a result promotes alertness.
Exercise from three to six hours before bedtime.
If noise bothers you, wear earplugs.
Avoid alcohol for five hours before going to bed.
If you’re troubled by chronic insomnia, try the sleep scheduling technique.
Try relaxation exercises. They will help you to go to sleep or go back to sleep if you awaken in the night.
Keep your body temperature low. Don’t overcover. Crack the window to get cool fresh air into the bedroom.

The Sleep Revolution: transforming your life one night at a time by Arianna Huffington, (WH Allen, 2016)
The Brain Bible by John Arden, PhD, (McGraw-Hill Education, 2014)

Image credit – Unsplash


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