Sleep generally makes you feel better, but it is far more important than just boosting your mood. Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit:
- Mind- clear thinking
- Less pain
- Lower risk of injury
- Improve mood
- Stronger immunity
The recommended amount of sleep per night is 7-8 hours. If you struggle with sleep try making a bed time routine one hour before you go to bed. You could take a hot bath and mix a couple of drops of essential oils with a cup of Epsom salts to running water or use a couple of drops in a diffuser in the bedroom. This will start your bed time by helping to relax, unwind, calm, destress and help with overall sleep, oils to use to help are:
- Chamomile- Calming, brings balance and ease tension
- Lavender- Soothing and anti- inflammatory
- Ginger- Comforting and muscle- easing
- Frankincense- Inflammation, mental fatique
- Bergamot- Depression, stress
- Cedarwood- Calming, tension
- Cilantro- Anxiety
- Clary sage- Hot flashes, PMS and cramps
- Cypress- Muscle fatigue and pain
- Melissa- Calming
- Ylang Ylang- Calming, relaxing and relieve stress
Things to avoid one hour before bed are Alcohol, Caffeine, TV, laptops, computers, tablets, phones in fact any electrical devices even Facebook because they stimulant you. Opt for a relaxing fictional book, relaxing soothing music or even meditate before you sleep!
Plan your one hour wind down before bed to help you sleep and remember 7- 8 hours’ sleep every night. Also try not to eat a couple of hours before bed. Going to sleep on a full stomach is hard because your body is actively trying to process your food while you are trying to rest!
Craving food is not actually down to willpower. Hunger is controlled by two hormones Leptin and Ghrelin.
- Leptin- Produced in fat cells the less leptin you produce the more your stomach “feels” empty. This in turn increases Ghrelin.
- Ghrelin- The More Ghrelin you produce the more you stimulate hunger while also reducing the amounts of calories you burn (metabolism) and the more you increase your fat stores.
Therefore, you need to control leptin and ghrelin to be successful to lose weight. Sleep deprivation makes this almost impossible. Just sleeping less than 6 hours triggers the area in your brain that increases your need for food while also depressing leptin (Taheri et al, 2004) and stimulating Ghrelin (Chamorro et al, 2011).
When you do not get enough sleep cortisol levels also rise. This is a stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain. Cortisol activates rewards centres in the brain that makes you want food. Also, loss of sleep causes the body to produce more Ghrelin.
A combination of high Ghrelin and cortisol shut down areas in the brain that leaves you feeling hungry all the time even after you have just eaten a big meal. Lack of sleep also makes you want more foods that you know you should not eat.
If you are struggling with weight loss then I would highly recommend working on your sleep as a top number one priority and then your weight loss will follow due to your hormones being balanced in the right way!
- Tahier, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., & Mignot, E. (2011). Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated Ghrelin and increased body mass index, POLS medicine Journal, V1 (3), E62
- Chamorro, R. A., Duran, S. A., Reyes, S, C., Ponce, R, Algarin, C, R., & Peirano, P, D. (2011). Sleep deprivation as a risk factor for obesity, Retrieved from Pubmed website: Http://www.ncbi.nlm.gov/pubmed/22051834