Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Did You Know That Lack of Sleep Can Cause Weight Gain? How to Avoid This!

Really, there are studies showing that a lack of sleep or lack of good quality sleep can contribute to weight gain. We live in a society that is increasingly becoming sleep deprived. According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans getting 8 hours of sleep a night dropped from 35% to 26% in a 7 year period. So what does this lack of sleep have to do with weight gain?

Studies have been done showing a relationship between lack of sleep and increase in weight. There are basically two theories being put forth. One is that a lack of sleep causes you to have less energy to exercise and the second has to do with lack of sleep affecting hormones that control appetite. With these hormones out of whack, you go for high carb, high calorie foods.

Natural Solutions
Here are some suggestions for ways to get good quality sleep and thus keep off the associated weight gain.

  • Cut caffeine out of your diet or at least don't consume caffeine too close to bedtime. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours.
     
  • Avoid alcohol before bedtime. Many people think drinking alcohol makes them sleepy, but it leads to increased waking up during the night and can interfere with the REM cycle causing sleep not to be quality.
     
  • Use your bed only as a sleeping place. Avoid working or eating in bed. Using the bed solely as a place to sleep trains your body to prepare for that activity when going to bed.
     
  • Make the bedroom as dark as possible. Also make it as quiet as you can. You may need to use an eye mask or ear plugs to accomplish this. Some people find using small earphone plugs with meditative music or nature sounds helpful.
     
  • Develop a sleep routine and pattern to get the body trained for when it is time to sleep. Many people don't get the sleep their bodies' need during the work week and then sleep late on the weekends to "catch up" on their sleep. This doesn't really work though for good quality sleep because if you have spent the weekend sleeping late and then have to get up early Monday for work the pattern is thrown off. It is better to set up a routine for every day of the week of going to bed and getting up at the same times.
  • Avoid exercising too close to bedtimes as this causes the body temperature to rise which is not conducive to going to sleep easily. It is better to do your exercise routines in the morning or early in the afternoon.
     
  • Valerian root has been used successfully for some people to get to sleep easier and maintain a restful sleep overnight.
  • Chamomile can also be a useful herb in relaxing the body before going to sleep. Drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bedtime can be part of establishing a nighttime routine and a signal to the body that it is time to start preparing for sleep.
  • Meditation is helpful for some people to relax mind and body. Doing meditation before bedtime not only can help with relaxation, but can also become part of the nighttime routine that signals the body to prepare for sleep.

Increased muscle tension and intrusive thoughts can interfere with sleep. Therefore, it is not surprising that techniques aimed at relaxing muscles (progressive muscle relaxation and biofeedback) and quieting the mind (meditation) have been found to be effective treatments for insomnia. Several studies show that regular meditation practice, either alone or as a part of yoga practice, results in higher blood levels of melatonin, an important regulator of sleep.

The quality of your sleep determines how refreshed you feel when you wake up in the morning, and how much energy you have during the day. Adding some probiotics, enzymes and blue green algae to your nightly regimen can really help you recharge while you sleep. Here's how they work to help your sleep.

Blue green algae:
Can support relaxation in the brain and allow you to get a peaceful night's rest. Take 1-2 capsules before bed.

Bifidus:
Bifidus is an important part of early childhood development, and strongly affects our self-esteem, confidence and sense of wholeness. Adding 2-4 bifidus capsules to your evening regimen can help you wake rested, confident and ready to charge into your day!

Enzymes:
While digestive enzymes certainly help us digest our food, on a metaphysical level, they can also help us digest and "work through" the knotty problems of the day. If you're facing a difficult situation or problem and need some solutions, take 2-4 enzymes before bed. Chances are that you will awaken with the needed solution!


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