Many people underestimate the importance of SLEEP. You put work, fitness, TV and social media first, leaving not enough hours for proper sleep (and then we complain that they’re tired!).
I used to fall in this camp, but on my personal journey to health, I have come to realize how important sleep is for my digestion, thyroid, adrenals, and stable weight. So I now ALWAYS prioritize my 8-9 hours of sleep. I aim to go to sleep by a certain hour each day, but if I don’t, I’m no longer waking up at the crack of dawn to exercise before work.
We need sleep for MANY key functions, such as keeping a strong immune system, feeling strong, awake and focused the next day, avoiding hormonal imbalances, and restoring all our bodily functions. But ALSO, regular sleep is a key factor for obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight. Sustainable weight loss is that much harder (I’d argue almost impossible) without proper sleep!
HERE IS WHY SLEEP IS SO IMPORTANT FOR WEIGHT-LOSS, AND EVERYDAY HEALTH:
1. DIGESTION & ELIMINATION – When we’re sleeping, our liver is breaking down the toxins to be eliminated and our colon is forming the solid waste whereby the toxins (and other waste) can easily exit our body. So after proper sleep, we wake up, and our body is ready to release that waste. But if we don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, this can easily lead to constipation, which is a huge impediment to weight loss (among other things!)
2. HORMONAL BALANCE – When we don’t get enough sleep, our hormones get out of wack, and this can lead to adrenal fatigue, lower sex hormones, and intensified cravings (especially for sugar and unhealthy foods!). Here are some key hormones that are influenced by lack of proper sleep that can affect your healthy weight:
a. Cortisol – This is your key STRESS hormone, which is elevated when you don’t get enough sleep. Excess cortisol is linked to increased appetite and cravings for carbs and sugar. It can also cause your body to hold on to fat. Even worse, if you're constantly releasing a ton of cortisol, your body will get drained and your cortisol levels become depleted, as do your other (sex) hormones (aka adrenal fatigue)!
b. Insulin – This is the hormone that moves glucose/sugar into our cells to be used for energy. But if your body is secreting too much insulin, it leads to insulin resistance, meaning excess glucose isn’t properly metabolized and instead, is stored as fat. And lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance!
c. Ghrelin and Leptin – These are the two hormones that control when we feel hungry and full. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells us we’re hungry; Leptin is the hormone that indicates we’ve had enough to eat, and stops our hunger. Not enough sleep can increase ghrelin and decrease leptin, thereby increasing your hunger and cravings!
So unless you want to become constipated and have your body store fat, I suggest you start prioritizing your sleep! Remember, it's just as important as your healthy diet and exercise routine for achieving a healthy, balanced life.
Make it a goal this week to go to bed by 10 pm (or whatever time ensures you’re getting your 8 full hours of sleep). And stay tuned for my upcoming blog post on TIPS FOR A RESTFUL NIGHT.
If you want more tips on weight loss, digestion and optimal health, contact me!
Love and Sleep,