Today, it's my pleasure to present a guest post with 4 sleep tips from Sam Sugar, M.D., F.A.C.P., director of Sleep Services at the Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa. If you, too, would like to contribute a blog post, see guidelines below.
1. Change your mindset about sleep.
Many of us think of sleep as something that we need to cram in between living, like a skinny piece of bologna slapped between two big chunks of bread. That is so wrong. We need to change our mindset and think of sleep as a gift. We need to think of poor-quality sleep, or insufficient sleep, as a curse. Because of poor-quality or poor-quantity sleep, we are often hit with problems like daytime fatigue or sleepiness, morning headaches, anxiety or depression, addiction to sleeping pills, increased risk of diabetes and other cardiovascular-related disease, and even trouble losing excess weight. With good-quality sleep,
and plenty of it (7 to 8 hours nightly), we enjoy the exact opposite: better health, better lives, happier lives. And we even significantly boost our success in shedding excess weight. That's because good sleep results in lower levels of hormones in our body that trigger appetite."
2. Improve your sleep hygiene.
Don’t crawl into bed at night with the TV blaring and the lights on, as well as newspapers and other reading material spread out on your bed. When you get rid of the noise and lights, and keep your room temperature nice and cool, it’s much easier to fall into soothing, deep, restful sleep."
3. Skip Alcohol, Caffeine & Exercise After 7 p.m.
After 7 p.m., don’t partake of such sleep robbers such as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine. And, while a commitment to exercise is admirable, don’t take off for the gym in the evening hours. That nighttime workout may wake you up, which is the last you need when you’re trying to fall off to sleep later in the evening."
4. Say No to Fatty, Sugary Foods & Lose Weight.
After 7 p.m., you also want to avoid fatty, heavy, high-sugar, and/or spicy foods. Sleep loss induces weight gain for several reasons. For instance, two hormones – leptin and ghrelin are affected by lack of sleep.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, your leptin levels go down, which is a problem because leptin suppresses appetite.
Ghrelin does just the opposite – it stimulates appetite. Sure enough, this hormone increases when you sleep less.When you don't sleep, your body tells you to eat, which is why so many reach for the refrigerator late in the night.
4. Talk to your doctor and don’t minimize your symptoms.
Poor sleep could be the result of a very serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea. Having sleep apnea can greatly increase your risk of life-threatening problems like heart attacks and strokes, so it’s important to pay attention to symptoms such as daytime sleepiness, snoring, needing to urinate repeatedly during both day and night, and waking up with a dry mouth. All could be symptoms of sleep apnea. Your doctor can likely recognize these symptoms, and others and prescribe treatments that can be very effective. The benefits of treating sleep apnea are lowering the risk of heart disease, right
heart failure and sudden death. Talking to your doctor and getting treatment for sleep apnea, if needed, can improve your life tremendously. The benefits of treating sleep apnea include better blood pressure, more daytime energy, far less snoring at night, and a much lower risk of heart disease, right heart failure, and sudden death. You’ll also shed weight more easily. Your body is no longer fighting pound-producing hormonal disturbances caused by sleep loss. In fact, losing just 10 to 15 percent of excess body weight may improve sleep apnea so much that it disappears."
Note from Connie: I've written before about how Not Enough Sleep Can Trigger Weight Gain. In fact, getting more sleep is one of the easiest and quickest ways to shed that dreaded excess weight. So make sure to get ample zzz's tonight, ok? Then share your sleep/weight loss success stories with us.
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