Lack of sleep is physically unhealthy. Not only does it leave us lacking concentration, leads to deficits in cognitive functioning such as decision making, reaction time and memory but now also has links to dementia.
Not to mention the bags under eyes and lead to weight gain.
So how does lack of sleep lead to weight gain?
With sleep deprivation, our cortisol levels increase. ‘Cortisol’ is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland which increases your appetite. This also means a decreased level of of the hunger-suppressing hormone ‘Leptin’, produced in the fat cells and plays a role in regulating body weight by signaling to the brain to reduce appetite and burn more calories. The low levels of Leptin can cause overeating and hence we know what happens when we we consume more than we’re able to burn off!
Not getting enough sleep also increases levels of ‘Ghrelin’, a hormone released by the stomach that slows metabolism, decreases the body’s ability to burn fat and again increases the feeling of hunger.
Cortisol, Leptin and Ghrelin all play a part in weight related behaviours; hunger, cravings and poor food choices.
So get to bed earlier! Sleep promotes ‘Human Growth Hormone’ which is produced by the pituitary gland. It his helps boost muscle mass while simultaneously reducing the amount of fat – therefore it’s a good thing.
It took me a while to realise, that an earlier night would make the world of difference. An unbelievable difference which mean enjoying my days rather than being in pain with tiredness from the moment my alarm went off.
If you’re experiencing a difficulty in getting through the day, try the following:
- Set yourself a 10:30 sleep time. At first you may be thinking this is way too early but start practicing and see what happens.
- Avoid drinking caffeine after 3pm and resort to calming teas such as camomile.
- Avoid sleeping in for too long at weekends. This will disrupt your pattern and leave you struggling to nod off on Sunday nights and starting the week tired.
- Illuminate all screens from your bedroom 30 minutes before you need to be asleep and dim any lighting.
- If like me a television or film isn’t such a problem in getting you to sleep, set a sleep timer. You may find that the automation switch off is also the moment you fall asleep properly.
- Or podcasts for similar effect and make sure it isn’t playing all night.
Having trouble ‘switching off’ from your thoughts?
- Listen to something totally unrelated from your current happenings for example, this podcast ‘Beautiful Anonymous’ allows anonymous callers to tell their story. Not only will it take your mind off your thoughts but also a very eyeopening podcast which allows you to hear opinions from people who have completely different views to you.