If you've watched or read the news lately, you can't miss all the stories coming out about the importance of sleep. I expect you'll hear more since, as all the researchers have acknowledged, they've barely touched the tip of the iceberg on how important sleep is to every bodily and mental function. In our crackberry society, where we pride ourselves on being able to function on less and less sleep, this news doesn't come as the welcome breath of fresh air it should. We stay up too late, get up too early, consume as much caffeine and sugar as we can to get our brains and bodies going - and then brag about how well (we think) we're doing on that 5 or so hours of sleep we got last night. These compensation measures only fool ourselves, as our productivity is slower, our metabolism is slower, and the only thing that's working for us is our self-deception in thinking that we're doing just fine.
We now know that adults need 7-8 hours of sleep every night, 8 is better. Every new client I work with has the most trouble with this part of their plan. Diet, exercise, water, anything else, but tell someone that part of their weight loss plan involves committing to 8 hours of sleep every night and that's where I meet the greatest amount of resistance. Truth is, without this success will be much more difficult and much more short-lived.
In case you missed the 60 minutes report that was re-aired recently, researchers are beginning to link the obesity crisis in our nation to our lack of sleep, well, in addition to our addiction on fast food. In a recent sleep study PET scans showed that after only 6 days at 4 hours of sleep per night, healthy college students were already in a pre-diabetic state. Without sufficient sleep, our bodies ability to effectively utilize insulin and regulate glucose can result in both weight gain and diabetes, as well as high blood pressure and heart problems. Then there's the appetite response. Hormones regulating appetite start going haywire and the ones that suppress appetite become decreased while increasing the ones that stimulate appetite. Then, of course, there's the link to depression, which can also have a dramatic effect on slowing down your metabolism.
So - you wonder why you're both tired and hungry all the time.
The one thing you can do to reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, help with your weight loss or maintenance program, and your mood is simple, free, and easy - Go to Bed!
Partnership for Change