Have any of these things been happening to you lately?
1. My workouts have been lacking
2. I’m craving high fat, salty snacks
3. I’m anxious and stressed
4. I get sleepy during long meetings or drives
Let’s take a second to think about why these things may be happening? Sleep! Although there is no magic number as to how many hours of sleep is perfect for each person, quality sleep is necessary to sustain a healthy lifestyle. It allows our brains to recharge and our bodies to rest. Stress and sleep are a very evil cycle. Lack of sleep leads to increased stress, increased stress can lead to more frequent short sleep.
Short sleep duration can lead to:
- Decreased muscle repair and muscle memory consolidation
- Health problems: obesity, high blood pressure
- Memory loss, poor mood and judgement
- Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals, or remember new information
- Crappy workouts and lack of motivation!
How stress/Short sleep affects my appetite?
Lack of sleep messes with your hormones and metabolism.
Leptin is released by fat cells to signal satiety to the brain, thus suppressing appetite, ghrelin on the other hand signals hunger. Sleep deprivation causes reductions in leptin (appetite suppressant) and increases in ghrelin (appetite stimulant). This causes us to be unnecessarily HANGRY for unhealthy foods. Therefore, adequate sleep is crucial to keep our hormones imbalance.
What can I do to improve my sleep?
To begin a new path toward healthier sleep begin by assessing your own needs and habits. Ask yourself, how often do I feel well rested and at ease?
- Establish a bedtime ritual
- Listening to soothing music, taking a hot bath
- Establish consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on weekends
- Use your bed strictly for sleep and sex (We have a dinner table for a reason).
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol as you get close to bedtime
- Sleep in a comfortable environment- lighting, sounds, distractions
- Turn your phone on silent and keep it out of the bed
- Limit screen time right before trying to fall asleep
- Exercise regularly
- Keep a healthy diet
- Drink 8oz of water right before bed and right when you wake up
Make sleep a priority!