Are you getting enough sleep? Step 4 of 10 to a healthier you.
By Pamela Liuzzo
Originally Published: January 13, 2009 3:01 p.m.
Hello to everyone. I have something to confess. I gained weight over the holidays. Do you still respect me? Yes, even us "Health nuts" crave the sugary, fattier goodness of holiday cookies and pies. With that off my chest, I also want to confess that I'm not beating myself up about it either. I always allow myself to splurge a little around the holidays, my birthday, and date night with my husband, hint, hint. What I try not to do is splurge often. It's a treat, it's special. Like date night, are you getting the message Tom? So what are my plans to get back to my pre-holiday weight? Here is what I don't do. I don't go on a diet, I don't restrict carbohydrates, and I don't eat salads for dinner every night until I'm at my goal weight. Doing this only makes me grumpy and my family grumpier. What I do is go back to my regular eating habits. This ensures that I will not only lose the few pounds I gained, but I will also keep it off, until next December anyway. Slow and steady wins the race. I'm telling you this so that you understand that it is perfectly healthy for a person's weight to fluctuate a few pounds. What is not healthy is for a person's weight to go way up only to go way back down, in a short period of time. Does the term yo-yo dieting come to mind? Making small changes in your diet and activity level will help you stop the yo-yo effect and keep you within the boundaries of a healthy you.So now that I have that off my chest, I want to give you another step to add to your list of healthy habits. I am not an expert on the subject; however there is a mountain of research that proves the importance of sleep and the impact it has on a person's health and well being. Step 4 is monitoring sleep habits. How many hours do you sleep each night, and is that sleep restful without interruption? Most people do not realize that bad sleeping habits can make you gain weight! Not getting enough sleep can mess with your brain and body. A good friend and client of mine told me of a saying; "Nothing seems right behind tired eyes." This is so true. Not only do you not think straight but your brain sends the wrong signals to the rest of the body in an effort to compensate for your lack of shut-eye.One problem with not getting enough sleep is that it messes up two important hormones: Ghrelin, which is a hormone that stimulates appetite; and Leptin, which is a hormone that stimulates fullness. When you are running on less than optimal sleep, your body releases more Ghrelin and less Leptin which makes you hungry bottomless pit. Ghrelin also stimulates the appetite to crave fattier, high calorie foods instead of what you would normally eat. Not getting a good night sleep for a few days' may not wreak havoc on your hormones but if you are chronically not getting enough sleep, you may be out of sync! There are a few tricks that you can try in order to get your sleeping patterns back on track; set a bed-time for each night and a waking time for each morning. Try to keep the same schedule day in and day out, limit caffeine to mornings only, exercise, meditate, and buy a good pillow. If all else fails, you may need to seek the advise of a sleep disorder specialist. You can find one at pvsleep.com.I personally need 8 to 9 hours of sleep in order to feel rested and balanced. My husband needs only 6 hours and he's off and running. My children who are 11 and 9 need 10 or more hours each night. Find how many hours you need to feel your best and stick to it. Night, night. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, post a note on my blog, or find me at facebook.com if you would like more advice or are interested in Personal Training. I'm always happy to hear from readers. Sleepy time juice(You need a juicer for this)6 celery stalks2 small applesCelery has been used for centuries for its calming effect.Give it a try.