There’s a reason someone started calling it beauty sleep. Besides the fact that a lack of enough Zzz’s can put bags and dark circles under your eyes it can also make you eat more to overcompensate for a lack of energy. So instead of constantly finding the milk in the cupboard and wondering why it takes you 10 minutes to decide on a cereal at the grocery store, start making the effort to sleep more!
Although we all know when we’re tired and when we want more sleep (ALL the time!) there are several things that start happening when your body is sleep deprived:
- Your immune system is lowered
- Short-term memory begins to fail
- Decreased focus and attention span (did you catch that?)
- Severe lack of motivation (notice how you don’t want to workout on the days when you’re tuckered)
- Lowered decision making abilities
- Becoming an annoyance to everyone around you (come on, you know this is true yawny-mc-yawnerson)
There are also reasons why a lack of sleep can cause you to gain weight – this is mainly due an increase in ghrelin (strangely similar to the word gremlin) which is the hunger hormone. Sleep deprivation also creates a decrease in the hormone that makes your brain realize you’re full (leptin). This is also why my co-workers candy jar is dangerous on days when I’ve stayed up all night watching Netflix. It’s also important to take a look at how much sleep different people need. It’s not like there’s some magical # or calculation like taking your height x your body weight divided by the number of cheetos you wish you could eat. The younger you are, the more sleep you’re going to need. Most adults should aim for around 7-9 hours a night.
Getting more sleep, however, is often easier said than done. We get stressed, our brains won’t shut up as we toss and turn in bed, there’s too many things to accomplish before we can call it a night. Take time to organize your life and plan ahead and also realize that all of that stuff you “have” to do will still be there in the morning (this is what I tell myself everyday when I leave work). YouTube can also be a great resource for relaxation audio. I’ll often get into bed with my iPod, put in some headphones and let something soothe me to sleep…
Think about those mornings where you’ve gotten a full nights sleep. You feel excited about the day, you feel energized, you WANT to workout and eat healthy. There are also tools to help you figure out when you should fall asleep to get up at a certain time. We have to make the effort and take the time to take care of ourselves. Make yourself a priority 🙂