What if I told you that one simple way to shed some pounds was to sleep? No, you’re not dreaming. In a study conducted by National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health on over 3,500 people between 1994 and 2009, concluded “the later average bedtime during the workweek, in hours, from adolescence to adulthood was associated with an increase in BMI over time.”
There are an abundance of studies that show that getting an average of 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep result in tremendous health benefits, including the prevention of obesity. In addition, quality sleep can also lead to prevention of heart disease, stoke, depression and other chronic disorders.
Quality sleep gives our bodies the appropriate amount of time needed to repair itself. If we fail to maintain proper sleep patterns, we increase the production of cortisol. Cortisol is the dreaded stress hormone that leads to depression, inflammatory conditions and more. Cortisol produces glucose, which is released into the blood stream so it is more readily available to feed the brain. This is great when we are under ‘normal’ stress. It helps to promote brainpower, but when cortisol is produced from lack of sleep, in addition to an already stress inducing workday, this can perpetuate the cycle. Hence a reason why so many people report that their “mind races” when they go to sleep.
If you find that your mind does race when trying to shoot for this resolution, try and incorporate a few different sleep aids to help you. Some helpful means of achieving sleep are to dim the lights in your home an hour or so before bed. Turn off any ‘screens’ at least an hour before trying to sleep. Try drinking a warm cup of herbal tea (caffeine free) before you hit the pillow.
So, if losing weight is on your list of resolutions this year, start by doing what you likely yearn to do all day long at work, but can’t; go to sleep. Now when you imagine a slimmer you for 2017, it really can happen “in your dreams”.