“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” A saying we use too often when trying to keep up with the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Whether it is work deadlines, studying for an exam, or trying to maintain the busy family schedule, a good night’s sleep can easily be overlooked without thinking of the consequences that may hold. Let’s dive in to see how sleep can impact your overall health as well as your weight.
So, sleep, good sleep – do we really need it? Absolutely. Sleep allows our bodies and minds to rest and provides many overall health benefits such as improving our mood, improving brain function, allowing time for muscle repair, helping fight off illness, and leading to a healthier heart just to name a few!
1. A good night’s sleep can help improve your mood and energy. Lack of sleep is related to causing irritability and being more vulnerable to stress. You will wake up feeling rested and ready to take on the day.
2. When you sleep, your body releases proteins and hormones to help restore damaged tissues and muscles. This tissue repair process is important to help you recover from a workout and build muscle.
3. Sleep also aids in building up our immune system. During sleep, our bodies release cytokines, which are essential for regulating our immune system. With a good night’s sleep, we also help the body’s defense system by improving the ability of T-helper cells to do their job, which will help fight off bacteria and viruses.
4. While we rest, this allows for our heart to take a little break and blood pressure to lower. Without sleep, your blood pressure remains higher for a longer period of time and can put you more at risk for developing hypertension and heart disease.
How sleep can affect your weight:
Sleep helps regulate many of the body’s hormones. It can play a big part on our hunger hormones. You may have noticed on days that you are more tired; you are more likely to grab those extra snacks and may tend to overeat. There is reasoning behind that! Ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone, lets our body know when we are hungry. I imagine this little gremlin looking thing in our brain saying, “feed me, feed me!” The other hunger hormone, leptin, lets us know when we are full. Research shows that sleep-deprived adults can experience higher ghrelin levels and lower leptin levels, which results in feeling hungrier and feeling less full. Long term sleep deprivation can impact your weight thanks to these two hormones.
Bottom line – Make sleep a priority!
- Create a bedtime routine – herbal tea is a cozy way to start feeling sleepy
- Set an alarm at night to remind you to start your wind down routine
- Make your bedroom cool, dark, and comfortable
- Avoid electronics/screens in the bedroom and ideally avoid looking at any screens at least an hour before bed
- Aim for 7-9 hours each night, depending on what you feel your body needs
- Avoid caffeine intake at least 4-6 hours before bedtime, depending on your tolerance
- Try taking melatonin or magnesium (I’ve linked our favorite brands. If you don’t have a Fullscript account with us you can create one here) about 30 minutes before bed to help with falling and staying asleep
- Talk to your doctor if sleep continues to evade you
-Mariah Hammond, MA, RDE