Updated: Dec 1, 2021
One of the biggest new year’s resolutions (or at any time during the year for that matter) is to lose weight. The goal of slimming down is even more present now when more and more countries are coming out of lockdown and more restrictions are being eased. Although there shouldn’t be a close relation between lockdowns and gaining weight, it seems that if our local gym got closed, perhaps our membership lapsed, we weren’t that keen to look for an alternative and we stopped exercising. Even if only temporarily. And perhaps we’ve started noticing that our favourite pair of jeans don’t fit us anymore.
Gaining weight is usually linked to an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. Of course, there are other reasons for weight fluctuation, some of them connected to our hormone production, underlying symptoms of an illness, or medication intake, but lack of good quality sleep can be one of the reasons too.
Research shows that more people are struggling with getting good quality sleep. And although we all know that sleep is literally essential to our survival, when it comes to cutting out or finding time for other activities, we reduce our sleep time.
Have you got up at the morning feeling tired and with no energy? Have you ever felt sluggish during the day and especially during the afternoon and you needed that second or third coffee to pick you up?
Lack of sleep has a big impact on the energy, productivity, clarity of your thinking if you can manage the daily stress and overwhelm and yes, you guessed it, weight.
In today’s blog post I would like to invite you to re-think your sleeping patterns and if the lack of sleep is causing your weight to change. I will give you some quick, actionable tips to manage your food cravings so you can make sure you get a proper night's sleep. In addition, I created a special downloadable 5 simple strategies to stop the mental stress and get a good night sleep cheat sheet for you so you can set yourself for a day when you stress less and make healthier choices.
How stress can impact your weight
Gaining weight or losing weight can be stressful.
No one deliberately decides to put on weight. As Emily Fletcher points out in her book Stress less, Accomplish more, we know the drill. We know we should eat better to stay healthy (and to keep our weight in check). How many times have we heard to eat more vegetables and less chocolate? We know we should exercise to stay healthy. It’s old news that through a physical activity we can maintain our weight or lose weight. We know we should get proper rest and 8hours of sleep. We know all that, yet we don’t act in accordance with our knowledge.
I strongly believe that knowledge is only power if we use it. We may know many things, but if we don’t use the knowledge and act then we can’t make the changes we want to make. It seems that our behaviour is a reflection of the level of stress we have in our nervous system. The more stressed we are, the harder it is for us to make healthy choices either be it with the food we eat if we exercise, or not if we get enough downtime or not.
If we can take control of our daily stress and overwhelm, we can make healthier decisions. Especially when it comes to healthy food choices and getting a good night's sleep.
How lack of sleep can impact your weight
Stress can alter our choices. Picking a cookie when we are stressed rather than healthy nuts or having a second glass of wine rather than switching to water can all impact our sleep.
When we don’t get enough sleep our body struggles to maintain healthy function such as to control the blood sugar level, your glucose and insulin levels, and production of the hormone leptin which is responsible for you feeling full. All this unbalance causes havoc as to when you are feeling hungry, more cravings for foods containing sugar (because you want a quick win, chocolate will deliver it quicker than celery) and it impacts your weight.
What's more, when you are feeling hungry it’s hard to fall asleep, you will be either tossing and turning in bed or obsessing that you should get up to eat something, but you know you shouldn’t do it! Either way, it will be very hard for you to get that needed rest.
However, because now you know the relation between stress, sleep and weight, here are a few tips to put it into practice:
#1 Regular mealtimes
You’ve heard about eating less but more often? Having regular meals and having smaller portions but more often can help you with balancing glucose and insulin levels. Your last meal of the day should be no later than 3hrs before your bedtime. Your body needs time to digest the food, as well as the food you just consumed delivered energy. You want to use up that energy before it’s time to go to bed.
#2 A balanced diet
Your quality of sleep (and your weight) is linked to the diet you follow. The more balanced diet, full of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates, and low in processed foods, the healthier your microbiome. A healthy diet will support your sleep.
#3 Cut down on stimulants
Although alcohol can initially help with falling asleep, it is dehydrating and it interferes with the restorative, deep stages of sleep.
It’s also a good idea to stay away from caffeine, especially after lunchtime. Caffeine has a long metabolization process that can take up to six hours, which means that it will keep you up when it’s time to sleep.
If you are thinking about losing weight, I would like to invite you to re-examine your stress levels and the quality of your sleep. Stress can significantly impact if you get a good night's sleep or not. This in turn can cause our weight to go up. When you are under constant stress and dealing with daily overwhelm it’s hard to make healthy decisions be it with food, exercise,se or rest time.
Lack of sleep can create hormonal imbalance in our body, which then can lead to feeling hungry when we should sleep or having cravings for sugary foods.
But the good news is that once you start getting more sleep, you will be able to handle stress better and keep your weight from going up. Having regular mealtimes and eating less but more often will help your body to control hormone production. Having a balanced diet, full of healthy fats and complex carbohydrates will help to build a microbiome which then will support your sleep. Staying away from stimulants such as alcohol or caffeine can promote deep, restorative sleep.
So, how is your sleep? Are you getting enough rest to keep your weight in check?
And remember get your 5 simple strategies to stop the mental stress and get a good night's sleep cheat sheet so you can set yourself for a day when you stress less and make healthier choices.
Having problems with managing your stress? Go on: www.annadoktor.com.au to find out more about Anna Doktor Wellness Coaching and how I can help you to beat the overwhelm once and for all. Alternatively, send me an email at email@example.com or call to have a chat to see how we can work together tel: 0498016440.
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