It may sound obvious but sleep and rest are very important when it comes to helping you to be a healthier weight. It has been suggested that not getting enough sleep could impact the hormones that regulate appetite. But even if you just think about your own experiences – which mid morning snack you are more likely to have if you are feeling sleep deprived – a coffee with two (maybe more) chocolate digestives or a herbal tea and an apple? Okay, maybe you’d never normally opt for a herbal tea and an apple regardless of sleep or tiredness, but let’s suppose that you have decided to make some changes to stimulate weight loss – are you more likely to have a healthy snack on a day when you are feeling fully charged and energetic or on a day when you’re tired because you went to bed too late or one of your children had you up in the night?
Leaving aside the food choices you make when you are tired I think it’s also fair to say that most people who are not habitual exercisers are less likely to exercise when they are feeling tired. Think about it – you have planned to go to a Zumba class or hit the gym or maybe you have just planned to go for a walk. Whatever activities you had in mind, you are more likely to defer them to another time if you are feeling really tired.
How much sleep is enough depends on the individual. The average sleep requirement for an adult is about 8 hours an night. You may fair well on less or you may need more. You may find that you can get by fine on 6 hours so long as you have power naps or a longer night sleep at some other point during the week. There’s no hard and fast rule but it’s very important that you know what you need and that you make sleep a priority.
There are lots of tips and strategies that will help you develop good sleep practices. Here are my top 5:
#1 The number one tip is to switch off from technology 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light from these devices may affect some people’s sleep wake cycles. Making it difficult to fall asleep and affecting your ability to stay asleep all night
#2 It’s also really important to have routine around your bedtime…if you need to be up by 6:30am then there’s no logic into going to bed at midnight and then wondering why you are so tired. Pick a regular time each time to start your bedtime routine – an make sure it’s early enough to achieve the sleep you need.
#3 Be aware of the foods and drinks that you are consuming. Sugar, caffeine and alcohol are all stimulants which are likely to be negatively impacting on the duration and quality of your sleep.
#4 Be mindful of how much you are drinking (and that’s any fluid – not alcohol) that you are drinking in the evening. There’s nothing more likely to wake you in the middle of the night then needing to pee!
#5 Be wary of old wives tales – I took it as gossip that camomile tea is good for sleep because it relaxes you. What I didn’t realise is that it’s a mild diuretic, so it’s quite likely to cause night time waking for the loo…I learnt that one the hard way.