What is something that we always want more of but can never get enough of? Sleep! We all lead busy lives and usually it is sleep that gets neglected so we can fit in everything else. That and the dusting (come on, that's not just me!). If you are looking to get healthier and/or lose weight, then getting enough sleep or just improving the quality of your sleep is so important and this post will tell you why.
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This weeks "Little Thing" as part of the AXA PPP healthcare 52 Little Thing challenge is focus on getting a better nights sleep, so I thought I would share with you why sleep is so important and how you can get a better night's sleep too.
- Hormones - Sleep can affect your hormone levels and that can hinder weight loss. Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that play an important role in stimulating and suppressing your appetite. Leptin is responsible for suppressing hunger, whilst ghrelin stimulates your appetite. Not getting enough sleep can cause lower levels of letpin and higher levels of ghrelin, which will increase your appetite. Getting enough sleep can decrease your hunger levels and therefore help with weight loss.
- Recovery - If you are working out, then making sure that your body has enough time to recover and for your muscles to repair is very important. The best and fastest way for your muscles to recover is during sleep, when you body is totally resting. If you are not sleeping enough, then your body will get fatigued and you will not be able to perform to the best of your abilities with your next workout.
- Avoiding Unhealthy Snacking - It goes without saying that if you are sleep deprived, that halfway through the day you will reach for the coffee and sugary snacks to give you an energy boost. Whilst this will give you a short boost, you will come crashing down an hour later and will end up feeling worse. Getting enough sleep will mean that you are not having the rely on sugar to give you energy.
- Improve your memory - Whilst your body might be totally resting whilst you sleep, your mind is actually pretty busy. When you are sleeping, you can actually strengthen memories and your brain practices skills that you learned whilst you were awake. So if you are pulling an all nighter to be able to memorise things for a test, getting a good night's sleep might be a better option.
Sometimes it is difficult to get any more sleep, as there are just not enough hours in the day. Which is when it is extra important to make sure that the sleep you are getting is good quality. Like the photo above says, a warm bath can really help you to relax before you go to sleep, which can help give you a better night's sleep. Some other tips for better sleep quality:
- Avoid caffeine past the afternoon.
- Do some gentle yoga before sleep. Any exercise more energetic than that can stimulate you and cause you to not be able to sleep.
- Make sleep a priority! Get off of Facebook 30 minutes earlier and use that time for sleep to see if it makes you feel any better.
If you feel like you have done all of those things and you are getting enough hours sleep a night, then perhaps go and see a sleep specialist to make sure that you don't have a sleep disorder.
Weight loss and getting healthy isn't just about working out and eating well, making sure you are getting a good nights sleep is important too.
How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Leave a comment below.
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