sleeping man

Mistakes Ruining Your Good Night’s Sleep

According to the Center for Disease Control, 40 percent of Americans are getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night. The sun affects our natural circadian rhythm and thus, not spending enough time outside will affect the body and its ability to sleep well.

Our lack of sufficient sleep does more than just keep our Einstein’s in business; it may be contributing to our ever-growing waistline. According to a study out of Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation increases your risk for obesity.

Hormonal.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, a lack of sleep takes a toll on our hunger hormones. Ghrelin, the hormone responsible for appetite stimulation in the body, is increased in times of insufficient sleep. While leptin, the hormone responsible for satiety, decreases. Your insatiable appetite may be a sign that it’s time to schedule bed.

Fight hormones with hormones.

Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating your sleep cycle. Since our days are no longer dictated solely by the status of the sun, WellU suggests dimming the lights in your room in the evening, and turning off lights in the hallway to help stimulate the pineal gland (which produces melatonin), and prepare your body for bed.

Snack Time.

If you’re awake, you’re more likely to snack, which is yet another reason to call it a night. Taking a two-hour eating hiatus before bed will help you fall asleep. Fat and protein rich foods take more digestive energy, which can keep your body from relaxing into slumber. Make the last meal of your day a small, carbohydrate-based meal, and give yourself ample time to digest before hitting the hay.

The Power of Choice.

Not only are you hungrier when you’re tired, you’re less likely to make positive food choices. A recent study found that sleep deprived adolescents were more likely to choose high calorie/low nutrient foods than healthier alternatives.

If you’ve noticed the insomnia pounds piling on, skip the drive-thru and hit the stationary store. Keeping a journal to track eating and exercise habits has been shown to promote weight loss and healthy-weight maintenance.

Careful with Caffeine.

Make sure you keep your caffeine fix limited to the AM hours. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to five hours. If you’re craving a hot beverage before bed, opt for a naturally caffeine-free cup of herbal tea.

Want to learn more? Go to www.css.edu/sleep