What does my sleep routine have to do with my weight?

Monday, March 13, 2017

How much sleep you get, how you wind down at the end of the day, the quality of your sleep, and how you wake up in the morning has A LOT to do with your weight and general well-being.

Don’t take it from me! Here is more information from The Mayo Clinic on how our sleep patterns affect our weight and wellness.

-Our sleeping patterns affect our hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, regulating hunger cues which control our appetite.

-Studies show sleep deprivation leads people to choose higher-calorie foods and an increased caloric intake for the day.

Improving sleep hygiene:

There are plenty of external factors affecting sleep patterns, and some that you can control.

  1. Get in a routine – Yes, I know it sounds boring, but I tried to get in bed and on my way to sleepy town by 10:30 PM every night. Preferably earlier! Each time you disrupt your routine – a.k.a. weekends – it can cause a jet lag like effect on your circadian rhythm.
  2. Remove the blinking, glowing, distracting, and other light disturbances. I’m looking at you Wi-Fi router, digital alarm clocks, TVs, and glowing A/C adaptors. These subtle yet bright lights in the bedroom can affect our sleepy hormone levels and circadian rhythm. If you absolutely cannot move them I highly recommend adopting an eye pillow (or childhood “blanky,” like me!) to block out the light disturbances.
  3. You don’t really need to know the time. If you must get up at a particular hour, set an alarm on the phone, and don’t bother looking at the time if you wake up unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Each time we look at the clock it starts a story in our minds about how “I didn’t get enough sleep, I must fall back asleep to get ‘enough’ sleep!”
  4. Consider meditation. Meditation is a powerful tool for living a well-balanced life. It’s less about emptying your mind of all thoughts because that is unrealistic. Meditation is the practice of focusing your mind on one calming thought. I find it useful to focus on my breath or start counting backward from 1000. Yep, that can be considered meditation. So go ahead and count the sheep and let yourself enjoy a restful night, waking up feeling refreshed. No matter how many hours of sleep you got.

Food for thought:

Did you notice I didn’t include a specific number of hours to sleep each night? That’s because it’s different for all of us! I need at least 7 hours to feel great, but my hyperactive business lawyer can function normally with 5 hours of sleep.

Try an experiment next weekend: Go to bed when you’re tired, and wake up when your body wants to wake up.

  • How many hours did you sleep?
  • How can you improve your sleep hygiene this week?

Let us know how you’re sleeping in the comments below 🙂

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