Plenty of studies have proven a connection between consistently getting the proper amount and quality of sleep and maintaining a healthy weight and metabolism. Insuring that you’re sleeping the proper amount of time is relatively simple compared with knowing how well you’re sleeping. And importantly, it’s not just the amount of sleep, but the quality of that sleep that affects your weight, metabolism, and overall health. Consider what you can do to improve your sleep to help manage your weight and your overall health.
Sleep Right, Get Skinny?
While it’s fun to think that you can sleep yourself to your ideal weight, of course it’s not that simple. But fortunately, science can paint a pretty clear picture sometimes – and the results are clear when looking at the weight/sleep connection: Being less-rested leads to having a lower resting metabolic rate (RMR), which has a direct impact on managing your weight.
While you may have heard that having inadequate sleep can lead to lowered willpower and increased snacking, there are also physiological reasons why sleep is so critical to metabolism. Researchers have found that just a few days of inadequate sleep can be detrimental to your body’s ability to process insulin, which is vital to turning food into energy.
Sleep’s Effect on Weight Gain, Metabolism and Insulin Resistance
The effect of poor or interrupted sleep on the body’s metabolism and its potential to lead to weight gain and even diabetes has been widely studied for nearly two decades. In a 2005 report in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the authors explain:
Sleep loss and sleep disturbances could contribute to the development of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes either directly by having a deleterious effect on components of glucose regulation or indirectly via a dysregulation of appetite, leading to weight gain and obesity, a major risk factor for insulin resistance and diabetes.
Finding the Right Balance of Sleep in Your Life
If you’re finding your sleep habits are changing, don’t worry, some changes are to be expected, many of which can be explained by hormonal changes or simply advancing years. (Seniors need less sleep on average than young adults, for example.) But if you notice that you’re having trouble falling asleep many nights, some simple changes to your routine may help.
- Screens that entertain us stimulate our brains – which is not conducive to getting sleepy and enjoying a deep, restful night’s sleep. Try to turn off screens an hour or two before going to bed. Just can’t break away that long? Make sure you’re taking advantage of your phone and computer’s night mode, or manually dim the screen brightness.
- Create a soothing bedtime routine. Dim the lights as you bathe, stretch, set out your clothes for the next day, and listen to quiet, classical music with a slow tempo.
- Temperature matters: keeping your bedroom relatively cool can help you fall asleep more easily. And, wearing socks to bed to keep your feet warm also may also help you fall asleep faster.
- Several studies have shown that acupressure may help people fall asleep and stay asleep longer, however, more studies could provide us with a better understanding of how and why this may be.
We don’t understand all of the ways that sleep affects our health, but we know that it’s necessary to maintain a healthy metabolism to help manage our weight. We also know that sleep gives our brains, cardiovascular and respiratory systems a much-needed break to recover from the day’s stresses and stimuli.
To learn more about how making a few changes can help you get a better night’s sleep, contact us here at My Green Mattress.