10 Ways To Get Quality Sleep
Research is finding that those who get 7-9 hours of sleep are thinner than those who get less than 7. There are many theories why this may be true. One theory is that less sleep impairs glucose and insulin metabolism making weight more difficult to lose. Another is that inadequate sleep may slow the metabolism by lowering levels of thyroid- stimulating hormone. Another is that not getting enough sleep increases cortisol levels, a stress hormone that can affect appetite and metabolism. Yet another theory is that inadequate sleep has been shown to lower levels of the hormone leptin (this hormone signals fullness) and increase levels of ghrelin (this hormone signals hunger).
In addition to getting 7-9 hours of sleep, I recommend that you focus on QUALITY sleep. Here are ten ways to get a better quality sleep:
1. Go to bed well hydrated (drink plenty of water during the afternoon and early evening)
2. Avoiding bright lights in the evening (bright light interferes with melatonin production which is a hormone we produce that helps us sleep).
3. Avoid eating 2 hours before going to sleep if possible
4. Use white noise, like a fan, to mute out background noises to keep you at a deeper sleep level.
5. Make your bedroom as dark as possible
6. Have exercised that day but not in the evening
7. Avoid stressful things like paying bills or watching scary movies right before bed
8. Try chamomile tea or other non-caffeinated hot beverage in the evening.
9. Take a bath or shower. Light candles if taking a bath is relaxing for you.
10. Stretch or do yoga an hour before bed.
--Michael Scholtz, MA, Biggest Loser Club fitness expert
This, of course, got me thinking. Getting enough sleep has been a big focus of mine during this year of fitness thus far... but I haven't really considered the quality of sleep I've been getting. Sometimes I leave the music on. Often I'm surfing the internet or watching some sort of movie before bed. So even though I may go to bed, as in lying down in my bed, around 9 or 10 pm, I'm not usually falling asleep until closer to midnight. Sometimes I drink tea or take a shower before bed which helps. But then again, sometimes I workout before bed... supposedly good for the body but after reading this article, now I understand why it makes it harder for me to fall asleep after that. And then waking up around 6 am means I'm not actually getting the sleep I need. I am definitely going to be more aware of that now.
How about you? Do you get enough sleep? Do you get quality sleep? What are your bedtime/sleep routines and habits? Feel free to share... I might learn something from you!
On the topic of my shopping day meltdown, thank you all for your comments. (Ben and Shannon, I can't seem to open your blogs. I'd like to be able to follow you... can you post or email me the link to your blog, please?) The shopping trip was completely overwhelming for me and as you all know, I left totally discouraged. But today I understand that's just something I have to get over. I got myself to this point and the only way it's going to get better is if I stay focused and get this friggin' weight off. It's going to be a long journey... not a couple month gig like The Biggest Loser contestants... but I'm worth it! I know that!
I looked alright at my sisters party. There were a couple cute dudes there so I was a bit embarrassed at times, but I just tried to keep focusing on her which totally distracted me. I'm giving myself this year to focus completely on me. I'm not going to worry about dating or fashion or those kinds of things. This year, I may spend the entire year in workout clothes, but not just because of my size... because it will keep me motivated to keep active. If I can stick with it this entire year, I know the rest of the things I want in life will fall into place! So, one month down, eleven more to go! :-)