Get your Sleep this Holiday Season!

Did you know that sleep deprivation afflicts 47 million adults in the United States? (1) Wow; that means there are a lot of Americans going about their days tired and cranky and just not fully alert. And dependent on caffeine to be productive at work and home. I have found that when it comes to discussing good health, being fit, and feeling really good, sleep is usually the last topic to be addressed. I often overhear conversations at the gym about a new diet or work-out regimen to slim down, but no one ever talks about sleep. If it is addressed, it is not taken too seriously. But over and over again, we hear that getting enough sleep is essential to good health and the ability to lose weight or maintain an ideal weight.

Yet another new study shows that increasing the amount of sleep that adults get could lead to reduced food intake. (2) What is interesting about this study is that the reason why more sleep leads to less food intake differs between men and women. Short sleep (4 hours of sleep per night) increased total ghrelin levels in men, but not in women. Ghrelin is the hormone produced in the gastrointestinal tract that stimulates appetite! Short sleep reduced GLP-1 (Glucagon-like peptide-1) levels in women but not in men. GLP-1, among its many functions in the body, inhibits acid secretion and gastric emptying in the stomach. Reduced GLP-1 thus means that we empty the contents of our stomach more quickly and thus do not feel full! So, in summary, according to this latest study, the tendency to overeat after not enough sleep is related to increased appetite in men and reduced feelings of fullness in women.

I can so relate to this! When I have a bad night’s sleep or just stay up too late and get only 5 to 6 hours of sleep, I cannot get full the next day. I just want to keep eating because I never feel full, no matter what foods I choose. What about you? Has this happened to you before?

Now the big question: how do you consistently get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night? I struggle with this…it is a constant battle to “shut down” in the evening to get to bed so I can get a full night’s sleep. It just seems like there is so much to do and finish up in the evening/night hours. But when I do get myself to bed and sleep 8 hours, I feel like a new person the next day! And everything just seems so much easier. Are you getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night? If not, what are the challenges that you face to get a good night’s rest? Is it working too late, not being able to fall asleep, waking up in the middle of the night and not getting back to sleep? If you are getting some good shut eye, what are some of the practices that you have implemented to ensure you get enough sleep? I would love to hear!!

The importance of sleep to our good health, energy levels, happy mood, and trim body cannot be overstated. If you struggle with sleep, please check out my targeted nutrition program. Changes in hormones, blood sugar imbalances, and poor adrenal health can all contribute to lack of quality sleep. With my targeted nutrition program, I can help you figure out why you are not getting the sound sleep that you deserve!

2. American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “Sleep duration affects hunger differently in men and women.” ScienceDaily, 31 Oct. 2012. Web. 2 Nov. 2012.

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