Being well into the new year now, your goals to improve fitness, lose weight, decrease chronic pain or just improve overall health are hopefully well underway! I just wanted to address a topic that could prevent you from continuing to make progress. That is of course, sleep.
A lot of us start the year with a goal of losing weight. However, if you haven’t been successful it could simply be due to a lack of sleep. Hormones within your body that help you feel full decrease and hormones that make you hungry increase, causing you to want to eat when you’re body doesn’t even need it. Your body will also store food differently when you’re sleep deprived. Long story short, not getting your sleep will keep fat on your body despite all of your hard work to try and shed it!
Cardiovascular health can also be greatly effected by a lack of sleep. This can be due to a wide variety of reasons. One of the greatest causes of sleep deprivation is stress. Chronic stress that causes a lack of sleep is very closely linked to high blood pressure and can also increase negative hormones in our body that have been linked to blood clots, causing an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. Of course, a great way to increase sleep along with decreasing stress and cardiovascular health risks is exercise! Regular exercise along with adequate down time to relax will decrease stress and make sleeping much easier.
A few ways to tell if you’re not getting enough sleep can include:
- Memory loss
- Lack of concentration/focus
- Increased symptoms of depression
- Constant mood changes
Lastly, a few ways to naturally improve your sleeping patterns:
- Cut out caffein 4-6hrs before sleeping.
- Exercise….just not too late in the day. Exercise releases stimulating hormones that are beneficial for you, just not right before you go to bed.
- Avoid TV watching or using any bright hand held devices right before your try to sleep.
- Set a routine for going to bed and getting up in the morning and stick to it as best you can, even on weekends!
I hope those tips are beneficial for continuing to try to achieve your goals throughout the year!