Adults are supposed to get 8 hours of sleep a night- its almost laughable, right? You need more hours in your day to get everything done, the last thing you think about is carving out a few extra hours for sleep.
You know you should sleep more, but you often squeak by with 5-6 hours, sometimes less. You wake up, have a cup of coffee, and feel fine. So those lost hours aren’t a big deal, right?
Sleep isn’t just to make you not feel sleepy. If that were so, we would all trade sleep for 10 cans of Red Bull and some Clear Eyes. Sleep is very important for many bodily functions, and is imperative to weight loss.
Lack of sleep can cause:
- Disruption of the response fat cells have to the food you eat and the calories you burn. In other words, fat cells don’t break down properly, or at all, when you do not receive enough sleep.
- Hormone levels are disrupted, causing hunger, weight gain, irritability, delayed or slowed motor function and mental process.
- Sleep loss can cause lack of desire and motivation.
- The brain solidifies learning and memories created through the day during sleep. If this process is cut short or delayed, the brain does not retain this information correctly or in its entirety.
- Muscle fibers torn during exercise heal during rest and sleep. Sleep is a must to make sure you are receiving all the benefits from your workouts.
To get the best sleep, avoid caffeine and exercise for 4 hours before bed time and try and get to bed the same time every night. This is where morning workouts are your best friend– waking up early may seen counter intuitive to getting more sleep, but if you get your workout out of the way in the morning, that opens up your evening to get to bed earlier. Research shows sleep deprivation is actually a big factor in keeping you inactive and your energy low.
I know you think there are already not enough hours in your day, but you have to find them. You have to make priorities, and your health is your number one priority. You are going to have to make time for things that will get you to your weight loss goals, including sleep.
If you cannot get enough sleep at night, naps are better than nothing- but the deep, uninterrupted sleep achieved at night is when most of the above processes happen, so make time for your 8 hours of ZZZ’s.