You’re going to spend 36 per cent of your life either sleeping or trying desperately to get to sleep. For a 90 year old, that’s 32 years of being out of it. Yet, most people don’t take their sleep seriously. They abuse it, undermine it, and rob from it, in order to maximize their 24- hour allocation. Most of them don’t even realize that it is their very lack of sleep that is making – and keeping – them fat.
Recent research confirms that lack of sleep and being overweight
are integrally linked. An Australian study revealed that people who are sleep deprived are more likely to be overweight. That’s because food intake was increased in people who got fewer hours of sleep.
It’s not just any type of food that sleep-deprived people indulge in. While protein intake was very similar between normal and deprived sleepers, the fat and carbohydrate intakes were increased in sleep-deprived people. The fact that the average sleep hours have dropped from 9 to 7 hours per day in the United States doesn’t bode well for the waistline of the nation.
A review of literature out of the University of Vermont showed that two contributing factors to obesity that also impair quality sleep are computer and television use. It appears that lack of sleep also plays havoc with the hormones that regulate appetite. Specifically, lack of sleep increases ghrelin and decreases leptin.
A further study, this time out of the University of Washington School of Medicine, showed that sleep duration was a critical factor for people with a genetic predisposition to weight gain. The researchers studied the obesity and sleep duration of sets of twins. Those who got the most sleep were the leanest.
The take-home message from these sleep-obesity connection studies is clear: Eat a small amount a few hours before retiring, don’t exercise within 3 hours of going to bed, and create a sleep-inducing environment.
7 Tips to Sounder Sleep
- Make Your Bedroom Your Sleep Haven – Make it as dark, cool, and quiet as you possibly can. Ideal temperature for a sound night’s sleep is between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Wearing socks to bed at night during cold winter nights can also be helpful. Make sure that you are lying on a quality sleeping surface. A mattress that is not too firm generally leads to a better sleep. Use room-darkening shades. Ideally, you shouldn’t have any light at all in your sleep area.
- Exercise – Anxiety is one of the main contributors to insomnia. Exercise is still the best antidote to stress that we have. Incorporate a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise into your routine every day.
- Diet – Do not take stimulants like coffe or caffeine before you go to bed. Large amounts of sugar are also a bad idea, as they will result in metabolic imbalances which will keep you awake at night.
- No Technology – Your bedroom needs to be a technology-free environment. Don’t even allow your phone in the room! And definitely no TV. As well as stimulating the brain, the TV can be a source of electromagnetic radiation. Sleep is the time when your body is supposed to be repairing itself. To expose it to such potential hazards at such a time is extremely unwise.
- Timing – If you can get to bed at around 9 or 10 pm, you will find it much easier to get to sleep than if you leave it until after midnight. The circadian rhythms of the body expect certain organs to be asleep at certain times. If they are not, then they are unable to restore and regenerate themselves. Scientists believe that every hour of sleep before midnight is the equivalent of two hours of sleep after midnight.
- Brain Wave Activity– When you sleep, your brain activity slows down. It reduces its activity to what is known as a delta wave rhythm. Listening to certain types of music has been shown to bring about delta wave rhythm brain activity. It is during delta wave rhythm activity that the body is able to carry out its maintenance and repair work. You need to listen in stereo, through a pair of headphones, so that each ear is getting a sensory input.
- Supplementation – Melatonin is a hormone that the body produces to regulate a number of functions, including the sleep cycle. Unless you have optimal levels of it coursing through your body, you will have difficulty getting to sleep, and staying asleep. Melatonin is also a key player in promoting immune health. Supplementing with a product, such as Kavinace Ultra PM, which contains melatonin as well as serotonin and GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) can help individuals relax and experience the best possibly sleep.