Sleep is the key to losing weight

Sleep is the key to losing weight...

… along with improving just about every single other health marker imaginable.


Yep. Little ol’ sleep. That thing that we procrastinate every night. That annoyance that keeps us from living our best lives! The thing that keeps us from watching every single Olympic event on TV right now.


SLEEP.


There is this new phenomenon called ‘sleep procrastination’ and it is affecting about 90% of my clients. This procrastination happens because our lives are so darn busy, running from one thing to the next, that when it comes to the evening and the kids are in bed and the meal prep is done and the last work email is sent… we don’t want to SLEEP. Why would we sleep? We have to finish ‘Mare of Eastown’ and then one more scene of ‘Sex/Life’ and then check the 10,000 Instagram posts we missed since lunch time.


NO.

STOP.


Sleep is the key to fat loss. It is also the key to overall health.


Why?


Sheesh - where do I start!


  1. Improves your immune system

  2. Decreases hunger hormones

  3. Lowers your risk of diabetes

  4. Lowers risk of heart disease

  5. Reduces stress

  6. Improves mood

  7. Aids concentration

  8. Increases productivity

  9. Regulates blood sugar

  10. Reduces inflammation

  11. Improves memory

  12. Helps your balance

  13. Increases ‘Executive Function’ = problem solving

  14. Repairs your cells (muscles!)

  15. Improves athletic performance

And I could go on and on and on…


Without sleep, you are shooting yourself in the foot. It doesn’t matter how well you eat, or how much you workout, you simply will not get the health benefits of lifestyle changes without enough sleep.


“Sleep is the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together.”

— Thomas Dekker


What is enough sleep? Well that’s personal, but I can tell you how you will know.


You will know you are getting enough sleep when you bound out of bed in the morning ready for action! You will know you are getting enough sleep when you don’t get sick very much - not even a head cold. Inflammation and swelling will go down, libido will go up, your brain will be sharp, your eyes will be bright, and you will likely be smiling! Your workouts will feel GREAT and your muscles won’t be too sore.


Does that sound like you?


Okay so how do we get this magical elixir of life you ask!!!


Take it seriously. Take it more seriously than you do anything else in your day. I mean it. Make sleep this glorious ritual that you won’t sabotage for anything.


“Sleep is the best meditation.”

— Dalai Lama


I am a terrible sleeper… I have been for as long as I can remember. As a child no more than 7 years old, I would stay up with a torch under my covers and read books. Talk about a sleep procrastinator! My mum still talks about finding me up after midnight under my doona reading a novel. She would put me to bed at the same time each night and I would defy sleepiness! I am a night owl by nature.


I was the kid at the sleepover who watched all 3 films back to back while the rest of the children slept around me.


This went on through the tormented years of boarding school sharing a dorm with 10 other girls… oh the sleep deprivation.


Then came my late teens and early twenties when I would drink 10 cups of coffee and stay up studying, or a bottle of wine and stay up talking, or 10 tequilas and stay up dancing till dawn.


Then came an autoimmune disease that messes with the very hormones that influence your sleep… Hashimoto's messes with your body temperature, your hormonal cascade, your metabolism, mood, and anything else that might help to give your body the rest that it needs!!


No sleep for me.


“The nicest thing for me is sleep. Then at least I can dream.”

— Marilyn Monroe


So how did I turn this around? Haha - the better question would be: what didn’t I do to turn this around!! Because I did, and still do, just about everything I can to guarantee a good night’s sleep.


Here are my suggestions for a good night’s rest - au naturale.

  • Turn off ALL screens at least one hour before bed

  • Go to bed at the same time each night

  • Have a nighttime ritual that tells your body it is time for sleep. This could look like: shower, brush teeth, write journal, read book, lights out.

  • Have a hot bath or hot shower: the change in your body temperature mimics sleep and helps your body to release Melatonin (the sleepy hormone)

  • Don’t eat for 2 hours before bed.

  • Keep a notebook by your bed so that if you have some last minute thoughts or ‘to do list’ items that go through your mind, you can write them down.

  • Do 10 minutes of breathwork / mindfulness

  • Have your room cool at 19 degrees celsius, or 65 degrees fahrenheit

  • Blackout curtains.

  • Eye mask. Trust me - this is a game changer.

  • Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.... to zero. Alcohol affects your body temperature, metabolic processes and deep wave sleep.

Now if you still do all of those things and you are still a restless kind of person - I feel you. I need to throw everything and the kitchen sink at my sleep!!!


Here are my suggestions if you are a nervous nelly like me - a bit ‘extra’ and not so naturale:

  • A melatonin supplement about 30 mins before lights out

  • Drink some ‘sleepy tea’ with camomile, lavender, valerian root and any number of sleepy herbs.

  • Wear blue light blocking glasses from when the sun goes down - THEY WORK.

  • Get some natural light in your eyes morning and evening - this helps your body clock to understand the time of day and set off the appropriate hormonal cascades.

  • Keep a gratitude journal. It helps soothe the soul and puts you in a positive frame of mind before you shut your eyes.

  • Listen to sleep stories on the Calm App. They help to take your mind off your thoughts and into a sweet, calming story that is designed to send you to sleep. Those train stories… ugh. I couldn’t live without them!!!

  • Try some high quality CBD oil.


And if none of that works? Then you need to see a professional sleep psychologist and sort that shit out. This is your life we are talking about! This is your health.


SORT IT OUT.


If there is one thing you change… if there is one thing you do to improve your health: make it sleep.


“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.”

— Charlotte Brontë



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