Are you getting enough sleep?

By Jennifer Gendron, Health & Wellness Coach

Have you ever considered that the amount of sleep you get can affect your health and your weight?

In today’s busy world, many of us are sleep deprived as our busy schedules do not allow us the time we need to get adequate rest.  OftenAre you getting enough sleep when we do finally drop in to bed, our minds are racing about all the things we have yet to get done or going over the events of the day and we have trouble winding down and falling asleep even though we are exhausted.

Let’s face it, when we’re tired we tend to make fewer healthy choices throughout the day, and we reach for the quick-fix energy boost we need, often in the form of sugar-filled options, processed snacks and loads of coffee.   When we are tired, we also tend to skip the workout we had planned for the day leaving us feeling even more lousy and energy-drained.

For many people, this is an ongoing cycle that is really tough to break and we just continue to feel more and more exhausted.

What you many not realize, is that adequate sleep sets the stage for everything else and so many things are affected by our lack of sleep:

“When it comes to body weight, it may be that if you snooze, you lose. Lack of sleep seems to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly to obesity. According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.

Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. “Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite. Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin. Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Ongoing studies are considering whether adequate sleep should be a standard part of weight loss programs”  – WebMD

In addition to affecting your weight, sleep can also affect your immune function, aging process, memory, learning, and metabolism.  Yes, adequate sleep is a big deal!

To get more sleep, set a goal of what time you need to be in bed each night to get the 7-9 hours you need.   Plan backwards from there of what time you need to have each of your evening rituals done in order to get to be on time.  This can be really challenging for many of us but if we start to make it a priority, we will soon see the benefits as we begin to feel more rested and are able to be more productive throughout the day. Try it this week and see if you notice a difference with your energy level and your eating habits.You will most likely be quite surprised at just how much of a difference it makes to your mood, energy levels and your over all sense of well-being.

How many hours of sleep do you commit to getting this coming week?

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