Diet and Weight Loss - Are You Gaining From Sleep Loss?

Weight loss and sleep have a relation to one another and believe it or not the impact sleep loss has on your weight loss success is massive.

Within a weeks time many people will be, if they aren't already, trying to get rid of the extra pounds they put on over the holidays. They may also find themselves desperate to catch up on sleep due to the demanding parties, gatherings, social events, and fundraisers we find ourselves involved in over the holiday season.

It is important that you try and catch up on missed sleep, especially if you are also trying to lose the extra weight the holidays brought. Why you ask?

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If your looking to lose weight, a little or a lot, or your fighting the battle of the bulge, consider that sleep loss could be the missing link to your success, or, could be holding you back from losing the amount of weight you should or could be losing. Here is why.

1. Feeling tired makes a person lazy. They are less likely to cook a meal and more likely to order take out or fast food, or go for whatever is in the fridge. It is also less likely that you will take the time to put together a healthy meal if you do cook. For many people, when they are tired, they are more likely to gobble down chocolate, cookies and other junk foods. Blood sugar highs and lows then make you more tired, irritable and cranky then you were prior to eating the sweets.

2. Lets look at the scientific end of things. Links have been found by researchers that show two hormones that influence a persons eating behavior. One of the hormones is Ghrelin, which is responsible for the feeling of hunger. The other is Leptin, which tells the brain when it is time to stop eating.

When a person is lacking the required sleep, Gherlin levels increase and Leptin levels decrease, giving the result of an increased desire for food and not feeling full. If you are trying to stay on the wagon with a healthy diet, or following a weight loss plan, then this hormonal disaster is one you don't want! Feeling hungry and having cravings at the same time is a horrible feeling particularly when you are fighting to lose weight or stay on a path to healthy eating.

3. It is through your circadian rhythms and the amount of sunlight outside that the body adjusts itself. These rhythms and light tell your body when to physically recover and mentally recover. Physical recovery is between the hours of 10pm and 2am. Mental recovery is between 2am and 6am. These timings are approximate. So if you are going to bed later than 10pm you are missing out on important physical recovery time. The same for mental recovery. The result? Aches and pains that don't seem to improve. A bad back and aching joints is the most common of these complaints.

Nutritionist and founder of The Diet Solutio, Isabel De Los Rios has put this research to the test and says her clients with back and joint aches showed immense improvement when they slept by 10pm and received the full dose of physical recovery circadian rhythm. She has also witnessed her own clients, friends and colleagues become consistently sharper when they were well rested and received the required mental and physical recovery rhythms.

Pretty much everyone in society today will tell you that as much as they would love to get the required 8 hours of sleep the body and mind need, it simply isn't possible with the demands of life, kids, and career have on the average person. So here are some tips on how you can get a good night's sleep, especially if you are REALLY not able to get 8 hours, it is essential that the hours you are able to get are solid sleeping hours.

Ways To Improve Your Sleep

Instead of watching TV before bed try reading a book or magazine. Consider a book that will take you away from this world and hurl you into another. This will help you forget the days events and help prevent you stressing about tomorrow. Fiction is ideal to read because it stimulates the imagination and prepares the body to dream. I have personally tried this and it has made a huge difference. I was an avid TV watcher before bed. Now, I only watch TV til a certain time, at which point the TV goes off, or I go into a different room and read until it's bed time. Choose your caffeine time carefully. Even an afternoon coffee or tea can have a racing effect on your brain and can disturb your ability to get a good night sleep. Once you catch up on lost sleep, or start getting a good nights rest, you will find you do not need the afternoon caffeine fix. Having any caffeine in the evening is a huge mistake. This includes beverages such as alcohol and soda pop. Stay away from nightly sugar intake. If you are on the weight loss road you should be avoiding sugar anyway, but if your not dieting make sure you avoid sugar in the evenings. This includes soda pop and alcohol. Sugar at night causes blood sugar lows, which causes a person to wake in the middle of the night, which usually leads to a midnight snack. Do not do office work, or study at least 2 hours before bed. Working and studying before bed will have your mind racing, increase stress levels, and for many people causes the munchies.

Sleep loss, not getting the required amount of sleep or missing circadian rhythm recovery timings will stand in the way of your diet for weight loss being less effective and you may not be losing the weight you could be losing. Get to bed by 10pm with a good book, stay away from heavy reading before bedtime and follow the few rules for getting a good nights sleep. This small effort toward weight loss could increase the pounds you drop and make your weight loss road a shorter one.

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