on Sunday, June 21, 2009in Plans & Programs
An effective weight loss routine relies on a number of factors. An overall reduction in calories and a commitment to regular exercise are often the two main priorities of most weight loss plans. While obviously these are crucial factors, there are other somewhat surprising components that contribute to the success of a healthy weight loss program.
Perhaps just as helpful in fat reduction is the quality and quantity of the sleep we allow ourselves. Even the best of the best weight loss programs will stall or perhaps fail if we don’t get adequate, restful sleep.
Studies have shown that a lack of quality sleep (less than 7 hours a night in general) can inhibit weight loss and in fact promote weight gain. Sleep (or lack of it) affects the hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone produced in our fat cells that sends messages to our brain letting us know when we are full. Ghrelin on the other hand, is produced in the gastrointestinal tract and is responsible for the stimulation o our appetite. Together, these hormones work in a give and take fashion, informing us of when it’s time to chow down.
In even a slightly deprived state, leptin levels are driven drown, causing us to feel hungrier regardless of how much food we have consumed. In the same situation, Ghrelin levels rise, stimulating the appetite. It’s a diet danger double-whammy, quite possibly resulting in weight gain.
The quality of sleep appears to contribute to weight loss as much as quantity. Just because you are horizontal in bed for 8 hours, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a good quality, uninterrupted snooze. Most of us need 7 to 9 hours hours of sleep per night yet most of us don’t get anywhere near that much on a regular basis. Like anything else in life, you need a plan or a routine for getting plenty of quality sleep. Here are a few ways to train your body and mind into falling asleep faster and resting more soundly.
1) Go to bed and get up at the same time everyday. If you normally go to sleep at 11p.m. and rise at 7a.m., follow that routine on your days off as well. Try to keep the same sleep/wake cycle daily and your body will become accustomed to the schedule.
2) Get ‘ready’ for sleep. Try to unwind at least 30 minutes before you retire, allowing your body and mind to relax and let go of the stress of the day. Use a journal to jot down any thoughts or concerns that may be on your mind as a way to resolve any issues.
3) Make the bedroom a sanctuary for relaxation. Keep a calm, pleasant atmosphere that is conducive to restful sleep. You should feel at peace entering your bedroom so that your mind associates it with tranquility.
4) Keep the office in the office. Your bedroom needs to be a completely different space than where you work in order to truly feel relaxed. Focus on the task at hand which is getting some quality shut eye.
5) Eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Keeping your body well nourished and blood sugar levels stable throughout the day helps improve sleep. You won’t wake up hungry in the middle of the night if you are well fed.
6) Work it out! Scheduling and completing regular workouts leads to improvements in health in general, leading to a better nights sleep. You’ll fall asleep faster and toss and turn less often. Endorphins are increased, making it easier to handle whatever the day throws your way, so that when it’s bedtime your thoughts are put to rest as well.
Make your bedtime a rule for yourself, just like it was when you were a kid. The benefits of a good, sound, quality sleep are numerous. You’ll enjoy a better mood, more patience, increased energy and last but far from least, a healthy weight! Nighty night.
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About TravisTravis Steffen is a Master Trainer and founder of WorkoutBOX. After years of experience training professional athletes and thousands of others just like you, he knows exactly what it takes to get you in serious shape. Follow his expert guidance and you're guaranteed to get amazing results.Want to hear even more of what Travis has to say? Keep in touch with him on Facebook and Twitter!
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