Sleep your way to a better body and more productive you!
You are on a weight loss journey eating a well balanced diet of lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. You have removed all processed foods and most sugars from your diet and are eating lean and green. Your exercise has been consistent with 4-6 workouts a week and water intake is on point. For some reason, you’re weight is not budging and you are staring to get frustrated. You start to blame genetics and the fact that your body just isn’t going lose the extra 20 pounds. Does this sound familiar? The truth is, there is more to the picture than diet and exercise. There is a big variable people often forget about… sleep! Without quality sleep, your body will not respond properly. This could be what is holding you back from reaching your goals.
In our fast paced world, with so little downtime and the need to hustle 24/7, how do we incorporate this key ingredient into our busy lives? Our “To Do Lists” are a mile long and if you are a busy working mom, like me, your sleep is the first to go. The constant battle becomes going to sleep at a decent hour or staying up to get things done while the house is quiet and kids are asleep? We tend to let our sleep be the first to go. How can you get anything done when your kids are, well … being kids. There just isn’t enough time in our day so we wake up before dawn and stay up late. Naps are a thing of the past because every waking minute is precious time to check things off our list. So, what do we do?
First of all, know that you are not alone. Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 35 percent of people are sleep deprived?
This is becoming a bigger issue and one that we need to address. Lack of sleep plays a vital role in reaching our goals, productivity and not to mention overall health and well-being.
Let’s take a deeper look at how sleep deprivation can affect reaching your goals?
#1. Poor sleep will affect your insulin and cause fat gain. After days of being sleep deprived, your hormonal balance is thrown off and can cause you to become insulin resistant. When your insulin is functioning well, fat cells remove fatty acids from your blood stream and prevent fat from being stored. When you become more insulin resistant, fats circulate in your blood, increasing insulin and causing you to store fat.
#2. Lack of Sleep causes hunger. Many people believe that the way to avoid crazy hunger cravings is to practice serious willpower and self-control. In actuality, hunger is a true sign something is out of balance. It is controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin inhibits hunger while ghrelin stimulates hunger. These two hormones need to stay balanced in order to successfully lose weight. When you are sleep deprived, these two hunger hormones get thrown off and can cause you to feel hungry when in actuality you may just be sleep deprived.
#3. Lack of sleep with sabotage your workouts. You are “crushing” your workouts yet without enough sleep, your body cannot recover properly. You need quality rest to repair and build muscle. Not only can you reduce your muscle growth but lack of sleep can cause muscle loss. To optimize fat loss and your metabolism, you need to maintain as much lean muscle as possible. This is only possible with enough rest. Better quality sleep will give you more energy to put towards your workouts and allow your body the necessary time it needs to recover, making you a fat burning machine.
So now that we know that sleep plays a vital role in our fat loss journey, what do we do when we are busy and can’t seem to squeeze in more than 5-6 hours of sleep?
#1. Make sleep a priority. Knowing how important sleep is, that is half the battle. Now that you know, you must be mindful and be sure that you are prioritizing your day, allowing you to do what needs to be done but not wasting hours doing things that simply can wait until tomorrow. I like to use mantras to keep me focused on my priorities. I ask myself the question, is this task moving me closer to my goal or distracting me from my goal. If the answer is distracting, simply stop what you are doing and reprioritize. We tend to get lost in the shuffle of scrolling Instagram or Facebook then responding to a unimportant text that pops up on our screen. These distractions can suck time out of your day that we simply don’t have. Be mindful and focused on what it is you are doing and let go of distractions.
#2. Focus on quality over quantity. If 5-6 hours is our realistic number, make sure that the hours we are getting are quality. In all that you do, quality should be your focus. I roll this into every thing I do, from my workouts to the food I eat, quality will always trump quantity in all that we do. Do the necessary things to ensure that your sleep is non disruptive. Simply doing a nighttime meditation, listening to calming music, turning your phone off or diffusing essential oils can help for a better nights sleep.
#3. Proper supplementation. When you find yourself still having problems getting to sleep or staying asleep, there are natural supplements you can take to help aid in your quality sleep. Supplements such as 5-HTP, melatonin, chamomile and Gaba are some I recommend. The only problem with some of these supplements is that while they can help you sleep, they can leave you waking up feeling groggy. This is the last thing we need when we depend on being mentally clear headed and refreshed to take on the next days tasks. While at Costco a few weeks ago, I came across a product that looked too good to be true, ORB Sleep Aid. It has a combination of the supplements I recommend to my clients while also includes a time released B-12 to help avoid the “melatonin hangover”. I decided to give it a try and I have to say, I’m impressed! After a few weeks of adding in ORB just before bed, I can honestly feel a difference in my productivity and how my body feels. You don’t realize how impactful lack of sleep is until you actually get a good nights rest. I do NOT recommend anything that I do not believe in or have used myself. I highly recommend picking up some ORB Sleep Aid from your local Costco (only $29.99) and see for yourself how much this can help you get the quality sleep you need and deserve.
As a fitness and lifestyle expert working with busy moms from all over the world, lack of sleep seems to be a common issue. I am excited to be able to recommend a product that I believe in and may be the missing variable to helping others reach their fat loss goals and increase overall productivity.
As you continue on your weight loss journey, be sure you address your sleeping habits and use the tools and tips I suggested to making sleep non-negotiable. This could be the one big variable holding you back from reaching your goals. Make sleep a priority, focus on quality over quantity and use the proper supplementation and sleep your way towards your best body and more productive you!