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The holiday season is quickly approaching, which guarantees a couple of things: food and travel. If you’re driving or flying to visit family and friends, you’re likely to eat cheap, unhealthy fast food on the road, and overindulge in rich holiday dishes at the dinner table. One way to stay on track with your weight loss goals during the holiday season is to consistently get a proper night’s sleep.
While most understand that sleep is an important factor in overall health, people often overlook its significant role in weight fluctuation. So how does sleep affect weight loss and weight gain? The Mattress Warehouse team explores this question and explains how to maintain a good sleep routine during the holidays.
Your body cannot function if it doesn’t take the time to stop and recharge. Sleeping allows your body to rest and heal, while simultaneously burning calories. Well-rested individuals have more energy, so they’re more likely to get up and be active, which means they’ll burn more calories throughout the day. A sleep-deprived brain has less ability to control impulses, and lowered inhibitions heighten the chance of making poor diet and lifestyle choices. Keeping a clear, focused brain will help you to resist temptations that arise, especially during the holiday season.
Additionally, a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that chronic sleep deprivation is associated with an increase in BMI (body mass index). While there is data suggestive of weight gain with sleep deprivation, there are also a few studies that have noted weight gain from prolonged sleep. It’s about finding a consistent, healthy balance and knowing how many hours of sleep are right for you.
Other studies have shown that lack of sleep causes the body to produce a mix of hormones that encourage cheating on your diet. Increased levels of ghrelin (otherwise known as the “hunger hormone”), which induces appetite, have been observed in sleep-deprived individuals. Sleep scientists have also noticed increased levels of cortisol, which induces stress, and decreased levels of leptin, which signals when you’re full. This is the perfect storm for overeating. Attaining proper sleep every night will help your body produce a healthier mix of these hormones, allowing you to resist unhealthy food cravings.
When you sleep less, your body burns calories at a slower rate to preserve energy. Researchers discovered that those who sleep less wake up hungrier and lose more muscle due to a shift in metabolism that makes the body preserve fat at the expense of muscle. In most cases, sleeping less will prevent you from reaching your goal weight.
While exercise is beneficial to your health and weight loss goals, there is also evidence that it helps you fall asleep quicker and improves sleep quality. In fact, there are several ways exercise affects sleep quality. People who engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise on a given day may see a difference in sleep quality that same night. Exercise stabilizes your mood, releases stress and decompresses your mind, which also makes it much easier to eat mindfully.
Incorporating a cup of decaffeinated tea into your diet each night as a bedtime treat can prevent late-night cravings and help you wind down. There are several teas that will boost your metabolism, like green tea (although this one does contain caffeine). On the flip side, numerous teas contain chamomile, valerian root, and other natural, relaxing and sleep-inducing herbs.
Many people consider tea’s effects comparable to that of a warm bath. It will make you feel cozy, warm and ready for bed.
Not only is yoga a form of exercise that can help with weight-loss goals, but certain stretches are great before bed because of their sleep-inducing benefits. After getting your muscles loose, stretches that focus on slowing the heart rate and deep breathing will make you feel relaxed and lower stress levels. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to fall asleep. You can also incorporate stretches before getting out of bed for added flexibility and relaxation.
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to mattresses. Depending on your height, weight, medical conditions, physical pains, etc., your current mattress may not be optimized for your sleeping needs. It’s important to find the perfect mattress for your unique sleep specifications. The better the mattress, the better the sleep, and the better your health will be.
Especially during the holidays, prioritizing sleep is important to creating a healthier you. You are more likely to stay focused on your health goals with a proper sleep schedule. Your body has the ability to stabilize its hormones, and by extension, your metabolism with proper sleep.
While it’s undeniable that consistent exercise and a balanced diet are essential ingredients to a healthy lifestyle, attaining however much deep sleep is optimal for your body is important too.
If you are currently leading an active lifestyle, or are pursuing a fitness journey, consider trying Bedgear performance pillows and bedding. As the official pillow and mattress partner of the Washington Redskins, Bedgear was strategically designed for active individuals to get the most comfortable night’s sleep after a long day of movement — and it’s all available here, at Mattress Warehouse, where sleep happens.
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