Sleep More, Lose Weight, Feel Better! 5 Tips for Success

Are you sick and tired of being tired?

Have you gotten used to functioning on a sleep deficit and suck it up because you don’t have time to slow down? Do you feel guilty for getting too much sleep? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be one of the millions of people out there who are sleep deprived.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, sleep deprivation is a public health epidemic. Translation? Millions of people are sleep deprived, and its showing up in their work performance, driving and waistline.The fact is, you have to get enough sleep on a regular basis – period! I know that’s a lot easier said than done, especially if you’ve got young kids who may have a nightmare at 4 a.m. right in the middle of your deep sleep (okay, I was just there recently – not pretty). There are so many pulls on your time, just the thought of getting enough sleep may seem impossible at times. If there’s one resolution I want you to keep for a lifetime, its getting enough sleep everyday. But how, you ask. I get that question all the time, and I’ve wrestled with this same challenge.

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Below are my tips to get you back on the (regular) sleep train.

Identify your sleep trouble zones.

Do you start putting the kids down for bed at 9 p.m.? Do you work on late-night projects because that’s the only time you can get stuff done? Do you drink coffee throughout the day just to stay charged up? Keep a journal and identify areas that may be the culprit to your sleep deficit. For example, say you’ve been working on a project until midnight each night. The good news is that you’ve got some work done, but the trade-off is that you’re sleep deprived the next day and may need some “help” from coffee or an energy drink. Over a period of time, this sleep loss and caffeine jolt have a negative effect. You stay up but cant rest as much as before, so you stay sleep deprived, and it starts affecting other areas of your life like relationships and weight loss efforts.

Establish a Technology-free Zone.

I‘m convinced that were too wired. Either were attached to a phone, catching up on email or checking in to our many social media connections (Facebook is not helping here!). Set a cut-off time when everything shuts down. For example, put away all gadgets by 9:30 p.m. Resist the temptation to take one quick peak at your email (its never quick). Get ready for bed, and have a cup of peppermint tea. Use this time to reflect on the day, talk to your spouse or catch-up on a favorite book. Allow yourself at least one hour to do the above to allow the maximum time to unwind.

Exercise regularly.

Research continues to show that sleep and weight loss go together. The more you move, the better you rest. Aim to reach the phase of R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which comprises between 20 to 25 percent of our sleep each night. This deep sleep allows the body to experience physiological changes that can improve our overall health. Deep sleep enables our bodies to recharge, relax, and use the weight loss hormone known as Leptin. Leptin is the hormone that contributes to weight loss, but it only kicks into gear when you’ve had at least six hours of sleep. Experts recommend between seven to nine hours of sleep so play around with these numbers and determine what works best for you.

Seek professional help.

Sleep deprivation doesn’t have to be something you live with. Sometimes there are underlying issues that prevent you from getting enough sleep like sleep apnea. Sleep Apnea can affect weight loss efforts and increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Maintain the same sleep routine.

When possible, keep the same sleep schedule on the weekends and vacations. Good sleep habits will keep your body working properly, and you’ll feel better overall. There’s nothing like having a productive day with the right amount of sleep. You feel like a new person! If you have an off day or two, and we all do sometimes, the best time to nap is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for 15 – 30 minutes. This may be a little tricky during the workday unless your workplace allows it. If so, drop me an email; I have to know where your work! This is also a great option on the weekend.

If you’re battling those last few pounds, or if you’re moody and irritable all the time, sleep may be just the thing you need. Trust me when I say that there is always something to do. Make sleep your top priority, and you’ll reap the benefits in every area of your life!

What are some of your challenges with getting enough sleep?

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