I could not write yesterday, because I needed to practice what I am about to preach. This is the only subject on healthy living that I know, believe in and write about but cannot practice properly. It is interesting that I am passionate about writing on health but I lack practicing my sleep related suggestions.
For a healthy life, the basic needs are (besides shelter)
- clean water,
- healthy foods,
- and regular exercise.
If one of these factors are missing, the body gives an error signal. I had listed the importance of the first three in my post titled “Recommendations to strengthen your children’s immune system”. Sleeping is very important for young people and adults alike. In case of sleep deprivation:
1- Your immune system weakens.
2- Lack of attention and memory loss might occur.
3- You might have mood swings and be stressed out more.
4- You feel artificially hungry all the time and your body will store excess fat.
When I don’t get enough sleep on some days, I crave sugar like a mad woman, especially in the afternoons. If I had enough sleep then this never happens. It does not matter, how much exercise I do or how healthy I eat, if I had little sleep then I will be looking for something sweet to eat in the kitchen. Pay attention and when you don’t get enough sleep, the next day you will have problems following a healthy diet.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body will release a stress hormone named cortisol. Then in order to relax, the body will crave for carbs and need sugar to release serotonin against cortisol. This part is simple, because we can see and feel the physical impact of sleep deprivation.
The part which we don’t physically feel the impact of sleep deprivation is that it increases the hormone called ghrelin which controls the appetite and reduces the level of leptin which helps burn fats in the body. As a result, even if you eat, the body will not send a signal to the brain that you are full and since you have less leptin then you burn less fat. Consequently, despite your hunger no matter how little you eat, you will burn little fat.
Another possible consequence of not sleeping enough is excessive release of cortisol triggering insulin resistance. With decrease of leptin release in addition to insulin resistance, you will see an increase in the fat stored in your body.
It is believed that one of the biggest reasons of childhood obesity is lack of adequate sleep.
Let’s say that you are doing everything right, you are eating right, exercising but not getting enough sleep. Your body will crave for sugar. No matter how much you try, without enough sleep, you will not be able to get 100% results from your efforts with a perfect diet and crushing workouts.
Just to give an example, for one reason or another, I have been going to bed late lately. I was just about to sit in front of the computer last night and my husband made me go to bed. Even though I haven’t see drastic changes in my weight previously, I saw a different number on the scale this morning. At the beginning of the year, I was eating healthy, working out and going to bed at 10 pm after reading a book. I sacrifice my 8 hour sleep for my blog and unfortunately, I see the negative impact.
If you lack sleep because your baby or your child wakes up frequently in the middle of the night, please refer to my posts tagged “Baby Whisperer” as well as “Baby Sleep”. I am sure it will help you out a lot in that area of baby-care. When your baby is asleep then you should sleep as well. If you have any concerns or questions please don’t hesitate to leave comments or email me.