The Power of Sleep to Optimize Health and Vitality
Do you ever find yourself craving and grabbing for high carb and/or sweet snacks when you’re overtired? Well…I do! And it just so happens that it’s no coincidence!
Sleep is one of the keys to health and vitality along with nutrition, movement and stress management. And when it comes to improving body composition, many rank it second only to nutrition.
It’s no surprise that insufficient sleep has been linked to overeating, unhealthy food choices and weight gain.
Disrupted sleep leads to disruptions in hormones, mood, appetite, ability to train and recover.
Ghrelin and leptin are hormones that are responsible for regulating hunger and appetite.
A lack of sleep triggers increased levels of ghrelin which stimulates appetite. And a lack of sleep decreases leptin, which is a hormone that helps us feel full. Put those together and it’s a double whammy…increased appetite and less feelings of fullness. Stay up later, and now there are more opportunities to eat!
Insufficient sleep can also affect how we think about food. When we don’t get enough sleep, brain activity is stimulated in areas that associate food as a positive reward which makes us more vulnerable to overeating.
If you’re finding yourself in this situation - overtired, craving sweets and carbs, or short-fused - it may be time to take a closer look at your sleep routines and what may be getting in your way of getting a good night’s rest.
Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep. If you still find yourself tired and reaching for unhealthy choices, skipping workouts or not dealing well with stress, why not try experimenting with getting a few more minutes of sleep each night.
Here are some tips to get the power of sleep to work for you, not against you:
✅ Turn off electronics – Try dimming the lights and turning off electronics an hour before you go to bed. Turning your phone off or putting it on Do Not Disturb for the night will prevent you from being awakened by your phone.
✅ De-Stress – Try reading, meditation, gentle movement (stretching, yoga), or a warm bath or shower (add in some magnesium Epsom salts and lavender essential oil for added relaxation). These activities help your body and mind relax to promote a good night’s rest.
✅ Clear your mind – Try doing a brain dump. Keeping a note pad or journal at your bedside allows you to dump what’s on your mind so you can let your mind relax and allow you to fall asleep.
✅ Relaxing Sleep Area – Try setting up environment to promote a good night’s rest. A quiet, dark room at an appropriate temperature (67 F or 19 C) works for most people.
✅ Put your pets to bed (and not in your bed) - I know, pets can be great snugglers, however, they also disturb our sleep when they hog the bed, snore, or move.
✅ Careful of alcohol and caffeine consumption – limit caffeine after 2pm and alcoholic drinks to less than 1 or 2. Both caffeine and alcohol consumption can make it harder to fall asleep or to sleep through the night.
✅ Limit fluids before bed – To reduce trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, try to limit fluids a few hours before bed.
✅ Create a sleep ritual – Having a set bedtime and routine signals to your body to unwind to allow you to relax and fall asleep easier.
✅ Go the heck to bed! – Try getting a few minutes more sleep each night.
Do you have a bedtime ritual/routine that works for you? Please share below and I'll share mine 🧡