I am not sure about you, but I know I NEED my sleep. I am not a very nice person to be around when it is lacking. Sleep is important for many reasons. The one that might resonate most is that it helps us stay thin.
Sleep helps balance leptin, a hunger regulating hormone that tells our body when we are full and gherlin that stimulates appetite. A lack of sleep lowers the level of leptin and increases gherlin which in turn can cause over-eating.
Lack of sleep is a big contributor to stress and anxiety. The less sleep we have the more easily we get stressed/anxious. These two negative effects of sleep deprivation contribute to belly fat. Sleep will help us decrease all of the above.
Sleep gives us energy. With more energy we are able to ramp up our workouts and train more intensely as well as be more productive throughout the day. Exercise also helps us sleep! So sleeping better will lead to a beneficial cycle.
Some helpful tips to sleep better and through the night that I have found to work for me, and some I break, but know I should be following are listed below.
Get on a Schedule:
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day helps get the body in a rhythm. When we are consistent it helps to be more alert and bounce back when you do miss a few "Z"s. Try to figure out what time you need to go to bed. Most of us have to wake up for work so try going to bed 8 hrs prior to the alarm. If you feel great for the majority of the day then stick with this, if you start to feel tired add 15-20 more minutes until you are able to wake up sans alarm and drowsy free!
Ditch the Caffeine:
I am not a coffee drinker so when I do happen to have that rare caffeine late in the day I notice that I cannot fall asleep. When 14:00 o'clock comes along cut yourself off! This is when most people start to dwindle in their work day and want that extra kick, but the effects can linger longer than the work day. If you are very desperate grab an apple. It give a similar energy boost to coffee.
Research shows that 65 degrees is the ideal temperature for a good nights sleep. Figure out the right weight blanket, use a fan, crack a window, figure out the right PJ's... All of these can help to get you to optimal sleeping temp.
Try to give yourself some time to relax prior to jumping in to bed. With a busy schedule, and the wheels spinning all day long, your brain and body need a chance to "zen" out. Taking a hot shower or bath helps easy the body. Research says to ditch the technology, which most of us have a difficult time doing. If this is something you are not willing to do at least dim the light. Reading a book usually puts me out right away! Not the most ideal, as I never find enough time to read everything on my list, but it is definitely a sleep aid. Every little thing helps.
Don't do Drugs:
Shocker right? Prescription, as well as over-the-counter drugs that help with sleep, have many side effects. Aside from that, they can actually be a detriment to your sleep in the long run. When you stop taking them your body has a difficult time adjusting making it even more difficult to fall asleep.