Most of us know that a healthy eating plan and exercise are vital to our health, but we tend to forget the importance of sleep. Yet if you don’t get enough sleep, you probably won’t feel like exercising (or doing anything at all). You might also experience cravings for sugary or fatty “comfort foods” due to the hormonal disruption. So if you want to be successful with your weight loss plan, paying attention to quality sleep can be a crucial step.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, you might notice one of these seven cues:
- Your dreams seem weirder than usual, or you might even have nightmares
- Your memory seems terrible lately, and you feel unmotivated at work
- You feel ravenously hungry, or experience cravings for unhealthy foods
- You get sick frequently
- You wake up frequently during the night
- You actually wake up earlier than you want to
- You think you’re sleeping eight hours per night, but you still feel tired all the time
If you notice any of these signs, try to determine what’s preventing you from getting enough quality sleep. Take the following practical steps first:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day
- Avoid screen time for an hour or two before bed
- Avoid caffeine after about 3 pm each day
- Get exercise and sunlight each day
- Invest in a good mattress and pillows
- Reduce light with light-blocking curtains, and try a white noise machine or earplugs
If these steps don’t fix your sleep issues, or if you’re already taking them, the likely culprit is stress. Stress can activate “fight-or-flight” hormones throughout the day, which keep you “on alert”. While this is a great adaptation in times of serious physical danger, for most of us the daily stress of busy schedules or demanding offices is just not worth losing sleep. Take measures to address your stress, and make those plans a priority just as you do your weight loss plan. Your health depends on it.
If you have questions about your weight loss plan, healthy meals, exercise, or the impact of stress, call us to schedule an appointment. We can help with suggestions to balance your hormones and keep your metabolism healthy for optimal results.