Monday, August 2, 2010

How Sleeping More Will Help You Weigh Less!

Are you still not seeing the pounds come off even though you are strength training 3 times a week and doing intense cardio? Here's one thing that might be missing from your workout routine...

               MORE SLEEP!

   Getting enough sleep is critical to regulating your fat burning hormones and keeping your metabolism running optimally.

 How does sleep effect our metabolism?
 When we sleep, different hormones within our bodies rise and fall signaling our bodies to burn fat and our muscles to grow.
  Stage 4 sleep starts about an hour after we fall asleep, and is the period during which we release our greatest amounts of growth hormone.  This hormone tells the body to burn stored fat.
   As our night progresses the hormones Leptin, Cortisol, Insulin and Adrenaline are lowered. This allows the body to respond to them better the next day.  Conversely there are increases in Glucagon, HGH, Testosterone and antioxidant hormones like Melatonin which help us burn fat.

If you sleep less than eight hours a night you may never reach your fat burning potential!!

    On top of that, studies have shown that if you do not sleep well for two nights in a row,  your leptin levels will drop about 20 percent and your Ghrelin levels will increase about 30 percent. In our bodies, Leptin sends signals to our brains that we are full and Ghrelin sends the message that we are hungry. Consequently, you will feel famished the days following poor sleep.
 And of course this hormonal imbalance does not make us crave salads!
 Our brains response is to want sweet and starchy foods... aka...chocolate and pasta.
 ( Oh , I know you have experienced that just like I have!)
 Our bodies also start to act insulin resistant, which makes us not process sugar properly and consequently store it as fat.

   One way to help insure that we create the best hormonal balance for fat burning in our bodies is to sleep more than the typical 5-6 hours a night.


   1.Don't exercise too late
   Exercising late in the evening often makes our bodies feel too energized to sleep. However, if this is the only time you have to exercise, don't stop.  If you simply enjoy doing something physical at night, try some yoga  with soothing music.

   2. Dim your lights at night
    Turn down the brightness of your lighting in the evening by using table lamps or dimmers instead of harsh ceiling lights. Or have a romantic evening by candlelight.  This helps your  body ease into sleep.

    3. Don't eat after 7-8 PM especially if its carbs!
      This is important...
     You need to have a high level of Ghrelin in order to get into the deep sleep stages and eating carbs depresses the level of ghrelin in our bodies. Also, your body needs to be in a semi starved state to release growth hormone which will not occur if you eat late at night.

  4. Stop watching TV or using the computer at least 30 minutes before bed
      Instead, read or listen to music or snuggle with your honey....

   5 Keep a journal
       We often toss and turn at night thinking about what we need to do the next day. Or we wake up in the middle of the night replaying an encounter that didn't quite go the way we had hoped during the day.  Journaling before you go to sleep allows you to organize everything you have to do the next day so you don't have to worry about forgetting something important. It also gives you a chance to write down all of your feeling about a stressful situation and then forget about it while you sleep.

   6. Go to bed by 10PM (about...)
     I know this is difficult, especially when you have older kids, or if you are working late. However, the longer you are exposed to light after sundown the more you push back your hormonal sleeping signals. When the sun rises, even if you are still sleeping, the hormones that promote fat burning are shut off. So going to bed around midnight really cuts down on your bodies ability to create that perfect fat burning time.

  7. Make sure your room is completely dark
     Night lights, TVs and computer screens that are on while you sleep interrupt the creation of melatonin in your body.  Try to make the room as dark as you can.

  8. Don't drink alcohol to fall asleep
      If you have trouble falling asleep, have a cup of decaf tea or take a hot bath. Alcohol will actually disrupt your sleep throughout the night.

  9. Create a nightly routine with all of the above  
     Do your own routine every night so that your body knows its time to relax and get ready for sleep.

  What time do you go to bed?  What kinds of things do you do to relax at the end of the day? Do you think what you do at night effects how hungry you are the next day? Let me know...

1 comment:

  1. Haley, I had read about the link between sleep and weight gain and these are great tips! I am trying to get on an earlier sleep schedule--definitely a wonderful idea for anyone.