Saturday, November 26, 2011

How Not Getting Enough Sleep Makes You Gain Weight

Getting enough sleep every night is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health, lose weight, and increase your productivity. New studies are published seemingly daily that underscore the importance of adequate sleep. Many people unknowingly negatively affect their ability to sleep with seemingly harmless habits, but habits are easy to modify, resulting in better sleep. Instead of resorting to drastic measures such as pharmaceutical sleep medications or even over-the-counter sleep aids, analyze your habits to see what routines can be changed to naturally bring about better quality sleep.

Investing in products to help you sleep better, including a comfortable bed, pillows that support your posture and alleviate sleeping problems such as snoring and sleep apnea, blankets that breathe naturally so that you do not get too warm or cold during the night, aromatherapy diffusers to induce sleep and help you to stay asleep, sleep machines or white noise machines that help cover up noise, and essential oils to calm your mind and induce relaxation, can help you to fall asleep quickly and rest peacefully throughout the night. Herbal teas such as St. John's wort, chamomile, and passionflower do not contain caffeine and have been long used for promoting sleep. Natural remedies for sleep can help you to get to sleep without the dangerous side effects of prescription medicines or over-the-counter sleep aids. Aromatherapy diffusers dispense soothing aromas like lavender or chamomile essential oils which have long been shown to induce sleep.

How Sleep Deprivation Effects Your Hormones
Not getting enough sleep or being forced to sleep during the day due to shift work alters the signals sent by your brain about hormones, especially the ones that control your thyroid and adrenal glands. Chronically not getting enough sleep has shown in studies to contribute to a long list of health problems, including an increased risk of diabetes, weight gain, premature aging, and an increased risk of cancer.

Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism and hinders hormone production. Studies with sleep deprived people have shown that it takes longer for blood sugar levels to drop after a high carbohydrate meal and makes it harder for your body to secrete insulin. In the study, these effects went away after study participants returned to normal sleep schedules.

Sleep deprivation tells your body to decrease its leptin production. Leptin is a hormone that tells your
body it does not need any more food. Sleep deprivation also increases another hormone, ghrelin, which
triggers hunger. Over time, this can cause you to gain unwanted weight.

How to Change Your Habits to Sleep Better
By modifying a few critical areas of your life, you can soon be naturally sleeping better.

1) Get into a routine. This tells your body to start slowing down for the night on a schedule. Not sleeping in on the weekends is beneficial to keeping your routine.
2) Avoid caffeine for at least seven hours before bedtime. Caffeine has been shown to affect sleep for many hours after it is consumed.
3) Avoid working or watching television in bed. When you only sleep in bed, it sends signals to your brain that it is time to go to sleep when you go to bed.
4) Stop working at least two hours before you go to bed. Working on complex or anxiety producing projects keep your brain working when it should be shutting down for the night.
5) Avoid light in your bedroom, including television and other electronics. These send messages to your brain that it is time to be awake.
6) If necessary, sleep in a different room than your partner and pets. Even though this is a sacrifice, not getting enough sleep is more of a sacrifice.
7) Take a warm bath a few minutes before going to bed. The warmth relaxes your muscles and makes it easier to sleep.
8) Valerian root, lavender, and chamomile are some of the most effective natural sleep aids, and became be taken in a pill form.
9) Melatonin is a hormone often recommended by naturopaths and integrative doctors.

Losing weight the natural way is more effective at keeping it off. With a few modifications in your lifestyle, you can be sleeping better and helping your body to become more healthy and summer.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

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