Sleep Yourself Slim…
Like so many things that have to be done every day, sleeping is obviously one of them. I do find myself thinking that, “If only I didn’t have to sleep I would get so much more done in the day”, but then as my eyelids become heavy I remember how much I enjoy sleep and then this is confirmed in the morning when my alarm sounds loudly and cruelly in my ears. Sleep is so important and with, apparently, 1 in 3 of us not getting nearly enough sleep maybe we should look at what actually happens while we sleep.
As we sleep everything slows down – your breathing, heart rate, and even your muscles, organs and digestive system start to wind down – so this is the prime time for the body to build and repair. Also it’s the perfect time for your brain to compartmentalise all the information you have processed during the day. The amount of adrenaline pumping out into the body should decrease as your need for the ‘fight or flight’ response should be diminished.
During your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which should occur about 90 minutes after dropping off, you dream the most. During this phase your body will literally not move a muscle, other than your eyes of course and the muscles that assist with breathing.
When you sleep your body makes many growth hormones – needed all through your life not just when you’re young – and also the hormones that help to balance your hunger: leptin and gherlin. When we don’t sleep well we will literally feel more hungry, which of course will lead to overeating.
The benefits of sleep are numerous from improving memory, sharpening your attention & creativity, curbing inflammation and repairing the body, to lowering stress and depression. Too much stress in the body can lead to a debilitated cardiovascular health, and too much inflammation in the body can lead to heart disease, strokes, diabetes, arthritis and premature ageing.
Studies have shown that those embarking on a health and fitness regime will lose more body fat and less lean weight when they sleep enough. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain, and when you’re sleepy the same hormone that drives your appetite will increase in the blood, thus making you want to eat more!
Also if you don’t sleep enough you will interfere with your ability to metabolise carbohydrates, leading to an excess of blood sugar, which promotes an over-production of insulin and encouraging the storage of fat!
To ensure having the best night’s sleep try and go to bed at the same time every night, creating a ritual and try to avoid looking at your phone or watching television directly before sleep. Don’t go to bed hungry but also don’t go to bed stuffed full. Mimic the drop in temperature of your body by keeping your room cool for a sounder night’s sleep.
So it’s a no brainer: give your body – and brain – all the assistance you can and wind down for your 7-9 hours a night!
Sweet dreams! Zzzzzz….
Sleep Yourself Slim…