Diane's Healthy Living Blog

Can getting adequate sleep help with weight loss?

women sleepingResearchers are telling us that there is a correlation between sleep and our ability to lose weight. They are finding that when we don’t get adequate sleep, it can lead to an increase in a hormone, called ghrelin, that stimulates our appetite.

We’re not talking about one night’s sleep ,don’t panic,  but when sleep loss becomes habitual there is a  disruption of hormones and metabolism, that  may contribute to weight gain. 

Dr Siobhan Banks has been researching sleep and weight loss at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in the US and is now a research fellow at the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia.   She says, “We know there are consequences when we don’t have adequate sleep, yet we give up sleep for work, social activities and responsibilities.” Sleeping poorly can have a range of side effects that impact our weight. It can lead to poor food choices, lack of energy to exercise and it can make our metabolism more sluggish.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

Did you know that more women than men experience insomnia?  According to the NSF in a 2012 poll, women are saying they experience sleep problems a few nights a week.  They recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but the average American logs only six hours and 40 minutes.

Can Lack Of Sleep Be Effecting Your Hormones?

There are many issues associated with poor sleep; worry and stress, pregnancy, digestion and of course –menopause.   As menopause approaches, hormonal changes can affect sleep more than during any other period in a woman’s life.

Sharon Wong, MD, chairman of the perinatal department at Adventist Medical Center in Portland, says that sleep studies  have shown that women are more prone to having their sleep disturbed in the first half of the night by having a hot flash.  Then the problem becomes getting back to sleep.

And sleep deprivation affects hormone levels.  So how can we stop this vicious cycle? Fortunately, there are many natural remedies to try before asking your doctor for a sleep-promoting medication. 

Natural Remedies Proven Effective

  Experts tell us to go to bed at the same time every night, avoid alcohol before bed, try some relaxing teas like chamomile and maintain a sleep diary so you can see if there are any patterns to your insomnia.  ABC News did a segment on “Sleep Secrets” that highlighted a few more helpful tips.

Valerian, know as “nature’s Valium” , is very helpful when taken right before bed.  Women report that it helps them relax and fall asleep.  I have taken it before a dental appointment or stressful event.

Along with the help of an herbal supplement, I recommend eating a healthy and clean diet, exercising and practicing some form of relaxation such as yoga or mediation.


 

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